The International Journal of Romanian Society of Endocrinology / Registered in 1938

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October - December 2020, Volume 16, Issue 4
Endocrine Care

Anton-Paduraru DT, Bilha S, Miftode EG, Iliescu ML, Leustean L, Ungureanu MC

Screening of Congenital Hypothyroidism in North-East Romania. Benefits and Messages for Further Improvement

Acta Endo (Buc) 2020, 16 (4): 437-442
doi: 10.4183/aeb.2020.437

Background. If not diagnosed at birth, congenital hypothyroidism (CH) can cause deleterious, irreversible neurodevelopmental sequels. The importance of thyroid newborn screening (NBS) is therefore well established. Objective. To evaluate the efficacy of NBS for CH in North-East Romania. Methods. Retrospective, descriptive study involving 271662 newborns screened between 2010 and 2019 for CH and phenylketonuria in maternities from six Romanian NorthEastern counties by measuring neonatal TSH (neoTSH) in the whole blood extracted from the heel between days 3 and 5 after birth. Values found higher than a cut-off level of 10 mIU/L were followed by serum evaluation of TSH and fT4 for the confirmation of CH. Thyroid ultrasound was further performed at children found with CH. Results. NeoTSH was found elevated in 417 newborns, but CH was subsequently confirmed in only 57 cases (1/4766 newborns). Mean age at the time when diagnosis was communicated was of 37.2 ± 15 days (between 9 and 157 days). Mean age when therapy was started was of 44.2 ± 17.9 days (between 13 and 160 days) with a mean delay of one week from diagnosis (between 0 and 62 days). Thyroid ultrasound revealed athyreosis in only 3 cases, atrophic thyroid gland in other 10 cases, whereas the thyroid was described as present in the remnant 44 cases. The number of first year follow-up visits greatly varied from 0 to 5, with an average of 2. Conclusions. NBS allowed rapid diagnosis of CH in North East Romania. The communication of diagnosis to families and therapy onset were however often delayed. Diagnosis and therapy onset before the age of two weeks, as well as a tighter follow-up should be assured by the healthcare system. Etiological diagnosis should be more accurate, for a better prognosis of disease severity, as well as the possibility of genetic advice in selected cases.

Keywords: congenital hypothyroidism, newborn screening, North-Eastern Romania.

Correspondence: ?tefana Catalina Bilha MD,PhD, “Grigore T Popa” University of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Endocrinology, 16th University Street, Iasi, 700115, Romania, E-mail: