Thyroid hypoplasia as a cause of congenital hypothyroidism in Williams syndrome

Horm Res. 2008;70(5):316-8. doi: 10.1159/000157879. Epub 2008 Sep 30.


In the Williams-Beuren syndrome (WBS), disorders of the thyroid function and morphology have been reported and programs of thyroid screening and surveillance are recommended. However, the frequency of biochemical thyroid assessment, particularly in the first year of life, is being debated. In this report we describe an infant with WBS and congenital hypothyroidism, due to an important thyroid hypoplasia. The patient, a 1-month-old female, negative at primary neonatal thyroid screening, was referred to our hospital for dyspnea. Thyroid function tests showed a raised TSH (42 mIU/l; normal range 0.5-4 mIU/l) with a low FT(4) concentration (10.21 pmol/l; normal range: 10.29-24.45 pmol/l). Ultrasound examination of the neck showed a significant thyroid hypoplasia, whereas (99m)Tc-pertechnetate thyroid scintigraphy evidenced a thyroid gland in normal position, with reduced shape and overall weak fixation. Therefore, treatment with L-thyroxinewas started. Thyroid hypoplasia is a frequent characteristic of WBS and abnormalities of thyroid function are common in patients with this feature. Therefore, the possibility of congenital hypothyroidism should always be taken into consideration too and, even if congenital hypothyroidism neonatal screening is negative, thyroid (morphology and function) evaluation should be regularly assessed when the diagnosis is made and, thereafter, every year in the first years of life.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Congenital Hypothyroidism / drug therapy
  • Congenital Hypothyroidism / etiology*
  • Congenital Hypothyroidism / pathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Neonatal Screening
  • Thyroid Gland / abnormalities*
  • Thyroid Gland / pathology
  • Thyroxine / therapeutic use
  • Williams Syndrome / complications*
  • Williams Syndrome / pathology


  • Thyroxine