Postnatal thyroid hormone replacement in very preterm infants

J. H. Kok, J. M. Briet, A. G. van Wassenaer

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Transient hypothyroxinemia occurs frequently in very preterm infants and is caused by a combination of factors as immaturity of the hypothalamo-pituitary-thyroid system, loss of the maternal thyroxine (T4) contribution, immaturity of thyroid hormone metabolism, and neonatal illness. Thyroid hormone is important in maturation of the brain, but also of heart and lungs. Low neonatal T4 concentrations in plasma are related to worse clinical and neurodevelopmental outcome. Despite these relationships, only few randomized clinical trials have been performed to find out whether T4 supplementation can improve clinical and/or neurodevelomental outcome of preterm infants. The currently available evidence does not support use of supplemental T4 in all preterm infants. There are, however, indications that T4 might improve neurodevelopmental outcome in infants born before 27 to 29 weeks of gestation. Therefore, it is necessary that new trials are set up to further study the benefits of thyroid hormones given in the neonatal period of very preterm infants
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)417-425
JournalSeminars in perinatology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2001

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