Hypothyroxinemia of Prematurity

Rite of Passage or Therapeutic Necessity?

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Abstract of Journal Article -- November 2000

By M.R. Beeram, MD, and D.P. Wilson, MD

Approximately 25,000 infants with birth weight less than 2500 grams are born in Texas each year. Many of these low-birth-weight infants are premature, exhibiting transient thyroid dysfunction. Because thyroid hormone plays a significant role in the development of the nervous system, the early identification and treatment of infants with true hypothyroidism is imperative. Transient dysfunction of the hypothalamic-pituitary-thyroid axis resulting from prematurity, however, makes the correct identification of infants who need treatment difficult.

In this article, we discuss the uniqueness of fetal and neonatal thyroid physiology. A review of the available literature raises questions as to whether treatment of premature infants with transient thyroid dysfunction is beneficial.

November 2000 Texas Medicine Contents
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