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Papers And Short Reports

Survey of neonatal screening for primary hypothyroidism in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland 1982-4

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1988; 296 doi: (Published 14 May 1988) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1988;296:1355
  1. D B Grant,
  2. I Smith


    National screening for congenital hypothyroidism was established in the United Kingdom in 1982. During 1982-4, 488 infants with primary congenital hypothyroidism were detected by the 25 regional screening laboratories in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland. In addition, one infant had signs of cretinism at birth and was investigated before the screening test was done and four infants were known to have been missed by the screening programme; among these four infants the initial thyroid stimulating hormone concentrations were normal in two with inherited defects of synthesis of thyroxine, not measured in one, and false negative in one. The overall incidence of primary hypothyroidism was 1:3937 births (boys 1:6640, girls 1:2756). The incidence seemed to be reduced in infants born to black mothers (two cases only) and increased in those born to Asian mothers (61 cases). Congenital anomalies other than those of the thyroid gland were reported in 36 children (7%), and 15 (3%) died from various causes before the age of 4. Infants who were considered to show unequivocal evidence of hypothyroidism started treatment at a median age of 17 days (5th and 95th centiles 10 and 42 days) compared with a median age of 14 days (5th and 95th centiles 9 and 21 days) for infants with classic phenylketonuria also detected by national screening.