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Congenital Hypothyroidism

What Is Congenital Hypothyroidism

Congenital Hypothyroidism is a disorder where a newborn has insufficient thyroid hormone production, specifically thyroxine. This condition occurs in approximately 1 in every 3,000 live births1. The thyroid gland, located in the neck and butterfly-shaped, produces thyroxine, which is essential for a child’s normal growth and brain development. Without early detection and treatment, congenital Hypothyroidism can lead to poor growth and impaired brain development in infants.

Source: 1PubMed

Causes Of Congenital Hypothyroidism

The primary cause of congenital Hypothyroidism is a developmental defect of the thyroid gland, resulting in an absent, underdeveloped or abnormal positioned gland. In other instances, a normally developed thyroid gland may be unable to produce enough thyroxine due to enzymes deficiencies. These scenarios may either be attributed to genetic factors or remain unexplained.

Signs And Symptoms Of Congenital Hypothyroidism

Most infants with Congenital Hypothyroidism are identified through compulsory newborn screening before they develop symptoms. If diagnosis is delayed, symptoms may include constipation, excessive sleepiness, poor feeding and prolonged jaundice. If identified later in childhood, it can result in short stature, overweight and intellectual impairment.

Diagnosis And Treatment Options For Congenital Hypothyroidism

In Singapore, all newborns undergo screening for Congenital Hypothyroidism using their umbilical cord blood Thyroid-Stimulating Hormone (TSH) level. Elevated cord blood TSH levels require a confirmatory blood test measuring TSH and thyroid hormone levels. A diagnosis is confirmed if the blood test indicates high TSH levels, followed by special investigations, including a scintigraphy scan, to identify the cause.

Treatment involves daily oral administration of thyroxine tablets. The dosage is adjusted as the child grows, based on regular blood test results. Parents should consult a paediatric endocrinologist for ongoing management and follow-up.

Research On Congenital Hypothyroidism

Clinical research is vital to for advancing medical care. Our doctors are committed to contributing to the future of child health and medicine through both clinical practice and research.

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