Diagnostic re-evaluation is important for all patients with congenital hypothyroidism (CH) for determining the etiology and identifying transient CH cases. Our study is a first thyroxine therapy withdrawal study conducted in Macedonian CH patients for a diagnostic re-evaluation. We aimed to evaluate the etiology of CH, the prevalence of transient CH and identify predictive factors for distinguishing between permanent (PCH) and transient CH (TCH).
Materials and methods
Patients with CH aged >3 years underwent a trial of treatment withdrawal for 4 weeks period. Thyroid function testing (TFT), ultrasound and Technetium-99m pertechnetate thyroid scan were performed thereafter. TCH was defined when TFT remained within normal limits for at least 6-month follow-up. PCH was diagnosed when TFT was abnormal and classified according the imaging findings.
42 (55%) patients had PCH and 34 (45.0%) patients had TCH. Thyroid agenesia was the most prevalent form in the PCH group. Patients with TCH had lower initial thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) values (P < 0.0001); higher serum thyroxine levels (P = 0.0023) and lower mean doses of levothyroxine during treatment period (P < 0.0001) than patients with PCH. Initial TSH level <30.5 IU/mL and levothyroxine dose at 3 years of age <2.6 mg/kg/day were a significant predictive factors for TCH; sensitivity 92% and 100%, specificity 75.6% and 76%, respectively.
TCH presents a significant portion of patients with CH. Initial TSH value and levothyroxine dose during treatment period has a predictive role in differentiating TCH from PCH. Earlier re-evaluation, between 2 and 3 years age might be considered in some patients requiring low doses of levothyroxine.