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Neonatal transient hypothyroidism: aetiological study
  1. G Webera,
  2. M C Vigonea,
  3. A Rapab,
  4. G Bonab,
  5. G Chiumello on behalf of the Italian Collaborative Study on Transient Hypothyroidisma
  1. aDepartment of Paediatrics, Scientific Institute H San Raffaele University of Milan, bDepartment of Paediatrics Ospedale Maggiore Novara University of Torino
  1. Dr Giovanna Weber Clinica Pediatrica III H San Raffaele Via Olgettina 60 20132 Milano Italy.


AIMS To define the aetiology of neonatal transient hypothyroidism (NTH) and recommend preventive measures.

METHODS Maternal and perinatal clinical data on the use of antiseptics, drugs, and contrast agents containing iodine were collected from 40 subjects. Thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), free thyroxine (FT4), thyroxine (T4), thyroglobulin (TG), TSH receptor antibodies, thyroid peroxidase antibodies and urinary iodine were measured in random neonatal samples. In the mothers with known or suspected thyroid disorders, TSH, FT4, TSH receptor antibodies and thyroid peroxidase antibodies were also measured.

RESULTS The NTH aetiology was identified in 85% of cases. More than 50% of the babies with transient hypothyroidism had been exposed to iodine; maternal transfer of antibodies had occurred in a third of them.

CONCLUSIONS It is suggested that the practice of using iodine containing disinfectants should be withdrawn, and chlorhexidine substituted instead; that pregnant women should be advised of the adverse effects of using iodine products; and that thyroid function should be monitored whenever iodine is used.

  • transient hypothyroidism
  • screening
  • iodine
  • thyroid antibody

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  • The Members of the Italian Collaborative Study on Transient Hypothyroidism are: P Torresani R Longhi P Bini M Maccabruni F Frisone E Cacciari A Cassio F Severi D Larizza, C de Sanctis A Corrias R Zannini R Masperi I Moschini P Costa