Thyrotropin-releasing hormone stimulation tests in infants

Robert Rapaport, Irene Sills, Usha Patel, Ellen Oppenheimer, Kathryn Skuza, Mary Horlick, Steven Goldstein, Joan Dimartino, Paul Saenger

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41 Scopus citations


The TSH response to TRH administration (7 μg/kg) was measured in 68 infants (22 premature) who had abnormal thyroid screening tests by the filter paper method and whose serum thyroid function tests were only mildly abnormal. Twenty-eight infants (12 premature) had peak TSH values of 35 mU/L or less and were considered normal (group I). Forty infants (10 premature) had peak TSH values above 35 mU/L and were considered hyperresponsive (group II). The mean age at testing, screening T4, TSH levels that prompted the testing, as well as baseline T4, T3, and free T4 at the time of TRH testing were not different between the groups. The mean (± SD) baseline TSH value was greater in group II (6.8 ± 2.3 mU/L) than in group I (4.4 ± 2.2 mU/L; P < 0.001). However, there was a great deal of overlap in the individual TSH values (group I, 0.9-10 mU/L; group II, 1.9-10.6 mU/L). Mean peak TSH levels were significantly different in the two groups (group I, 24 ± 7.7 mU/L; group II, 60.3 ± 26.1 mU/L; P < 0.001). During long term follow-up, all 25 group I infants available for evaluation have been confirmed as clinically and biochemically normal. No infant diagnosed as normal was later found to have evidence of hypothyroidism. Fourteen infants in group II have had evidence of thyroid dysfunction. We conclude that the TSH response to TRH stimulation is a useful tool for the evaluation of infants suspected of having primary hypothyroidism. Whether hyperresponsiveness to TRH represents a form of neonatal hypothyroidism requiring treatment remains to be determined.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)889-894
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1993
Externally publishedYes


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