Aims: To determine the factors which influence the suppression of thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) in infants with congenital hypothyroidism (CH) following treatment. Methods: We examined retrospectively the patterns of thyroid function tests from diagnosis to 3 years of age in 140 infants diagnosed with CH from screening. Patients were classified into 3 groups: athyreosis, ectopia and presumed dyshormonogenesis on the basis of thyroid scans. Adequate TSH suppression was defined as plasma TSH concentration <6 mU/l. The factors affecting the suppression of TSH at 6 months and 1 year of age which were evaluated were: initial confirmatory plasma TSH, initial plasma thyroxine (T4), mean age of starting treatment with L-T4, dose of L-T4 at diagnosis, 6 weeks, 3 months and 6 months, and aetiology of the congenital hypothyroidism. Variables were then entered in a stepwise logistic regression model for TSH suppression at 6 months and 1 year of age. Results: All infants had radionuclide scans prior to treatment: athyreosis (n = 39), ectopia (n = 78) and dyshormonogenesis (n = 23). 58% of patients had persistently raised TSH at 6 months of age while 31% of patients had a persistently raised TSH at 1 year of age. There was a significant delay in the normalisation of plasma TSH in athyreosis and ectopia groups compared with dyshormonogenesis. Multiple regression analysis for TSH suppression at 6 months of age found plasma T4 levels and aetiology of CH as independent factors affecting the timing of TSH suppression. Aetiology of CH was the only independent factor affecting TSH suppression at 1 year of age. Conclusion: At 6 months of age, plasma T4 levels at 6 weeks and 3 months, and aetiology of CH were independent factors affecting timing of TSH suppression. However, by 1 year of age, the aetiology of CH was the only independent factor affecting suppression of TSH.

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