Transient hypothyroidism in the newborn: to treat or not to treat
Abstract: Transient congenital hypothyroidism (CH) refers to a temporary deficiency of thyroid hormone identified after birth, with low thyroxine (T4) and elevated thyrotropin (TSH), which later recovers to improved thyroxine production, typically in first few months of infancy. Approximately 17% to 40% of children diagnosed with CH by newborn screening (NBS) programs were later determined to have transient hypothyroidism. Causes of transient CH are prematurity, iodine deficiency, maternal thyrotropin receptor blocking antibodies, maternal intake of anti-thyroid drugs, maternal or neonatal iodine exposure, loss of function mutations and hepatic hemangiomas. The classic clinical symptoms and signs of CH are usually absent immediately after birth in vast majority of infants due to temporary protection from maternal thyroxine. NBS has been largely successful in preventing intellectual disability by early detection of CH by performing thyroid function tests in infants with abnormal screening results. In this review we present the evidence for decision making regarding treatment vs. withholding treatment in infants with transient CH and present a rational approach to identifying transient CH based on American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommendation.