2014 ETA Guidelines for the management of subclinical hypothyroidism in pregnancy and in children
John Lazarus, Rosalind S. Brown, Chantal Daumerie, Alicja Hubalewska-Dydejczyk, Roberto Negro, Bijay Vaidya
Subclinical hypothyroidism (SCH) in pregnancy is defined as a thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) level above the pregnancy-related reference range with a normal serum thyroxine concentration. Isolated hypothyroxinaemia (defined as a thyroxine level below the 2.5th centile of the pregnancy-related reference range with a normal TSH level) is also recognized in pregnancy.
- In the majority of SCH the cause is autoimmune thyroiditis but may also be due to iodine deficiency. The cause of isolated hypothyroxinaemia is usually not apparent, but iodine deficiency may be a factor.
- SCH and isolated hypothyroxinaemia are both associated with adverse obstetric outcomes. Levothyroxine therapy may ameliorate some of these with SCH but not in isolated hypothyroxinaemia.
- SCH and isolated hypothyroxinaemia are both associated with neuro-intellectual impairment of the child, but there is no evidence that maternal levothyroxine therapy improves this outcome.
Targeted antenatal screening for thyroid function will miss a substantial percentage of women with thyroid dysfunction.
In children SCH (serum TSH concentration > 5.5–10 mU/l) normalizes in > 70% and persists in the majority of the remaining patients over the subsequent 5 years, but rarely worsens. There is a lack of studies examining the impact of SCH on the neuropsychological development of children under the age of 3 years. In older children, the evidence for an association between SCH and impaired neuropsychological development is inconsistent.
Good quality studies examining the effect of treatment of SCH in children are lacking.