Thyroid function in neonates conceived after hysterosalpingography with iodinated contrast

H2Oil Study Group

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STUDY QUESTION: Does exposure to preconceptional hysterosalpingography (HSG) with iodinated oil-based contrast affect neonatal thyroid function as compared to iodinated water-based contrast? SUMMARY ANSWER: Preconceptional HSG with iodinated contrast did not influence the neonatal thyroid function. WHAT IS KNOWN ALREADY: HSG is a commonly applied tubal patency test during fertility work-up in which either oil- or water-based contrast is used. Oil-based contrast contains more iodine compared to water-based contrast. A previous study in an East Asian population found an increased risk of congenital hypothyroidism (CH) in neonates whose mothers were exposed to high amounts of oil-based contrast during HSG. STUDY DESIGN, SIZE, DURATION: This is a retrospective data analysis of the H2Oil study, a randomized controlled trial (RCT) comparing HSG with the use of oil- versus water-based contrast during fertility work-up. After an HSG with oil-based contrast, 214 women had an ongoing pregnancy within 6 months leading to a live birth compared to 155 women after HSG with water-based contrast. PARTICIPANTS/MATERIALS, SETTING, METHODS: Of the 369 women who had a live born infant, 208 consented to be approached for future research and 138 provided informed consent to collect data on the thyroid function tests of their offspring (n = 140). Thyroid function tests of these children were retrieved from the Dutch neonatal screening program, which includes the assessment of total thyroxine (T4) in all newborns, followed by thyroid-stimulating hormone only in those with a T4 level of ≤ −0.8 SD score. Furthermore, amount of contrast medium used and time between HSG and conception were compared between the two study groups. MAIN RESULTS AND THE ROLE OF CHANCE: Data were collected from 140 neonates conceived after HSG with oil-based (n = 76) or water-based (n = 64) contrast. The median T4 concentration was 87.0 nmol/l [76.0-96.0] in the oil group and 90.0 nmol/l [78.0-106.0] in the water group (P = 0.13). None of the neonates had a positive screening result for CH. The median amount of contrast medium used was 9.0 ml [interquartile range (IQR), 6.0-11.8] in the oil-group and 10.0 ml [IQR, 7.5-14.0] in the water group (P = 0.43). No influence of the amount of contrast on the effect of contrast group on T4 concentrations was found (P-value for interaction, 0.37). LIMITATIONS, REASONS FOR CAUTION: A relatively small sample size and possible attrition at follow-up are limitations of this study. Although our results suggest that the use of iodinated contrast media for HSG is safe for the offspring, the impact of a decrease in maternal thyroid function on offspring neurodevelopment could not be excluded, as data on maternal thyroid function after HSG and during conception were lacking. WIDER IMPLICATIONS OF THE FINDINGS: As HSG with oil-based contrast does not affect thyroid function of the offspring, there is no reason to withhold this contrast to infertile women undergoing HSG. Future studies should investigate whether HSG with iodinated contrast influences the periconceptional maternal thyroid function and, consequently, offspring neurodevelopment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1159-1167
Number of pages9
JournalHuman reproduction (Oxford, England)
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2020


  • Hypothyroidism
  • Hysterosalpingography
  • Iodine
  • Neonatal health
  • Neonatal screening
  • Oil-based contrast medium
  • Water-based contrast medium

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