Congenital Hypothyroidism: A 2020-2021 Consensus Guidelines Update-An ENDO-European Reference Network Initiative Endorsed by the European Society for Pediatric Endocrinology and the European Society for Endocrinology

Thyroid. 2021 Mar;31(3):387-419. doi: 10.1089/thy.2020.0333.


Background: An ENDO-European Reference Network (ERN) initiative was launched that was endorsed by the European Society for Pediatric Endocrinology and the European Society for Endocrinology with 22 participants from the ENDO-ERN and the two societies. The aim was to update the practice guidelines for the diagnosis and management of congenital hypothyroidism (CH). A systematic literature search was conducted to identify key articles on neonatal screening, diagnosis, and management of primary and central CH. The evidence-based guidelines were graded with the Grading of Recommendations, Assessment, Development and Evaluation system, describing both the strength of recommendations and the quality of evidence. In the absence of sufficient evidence, conclusions were based on expert opinion. Summary: The recommendations include the various neonatal screening approaches for CH as well as the etiology (also genetics), diagnostics, treatment, and prognosis of both primary and central CH. When CH is diagnosed, the expert panel recommends the immediate start of correctly dosed levothyroxine treatment and frequent follow-up including laboratory testing to keep thyroid hormone levels in their target ranges, timely assessment of the need to continue treatment, attention for neurodevelopment and neurosensory functions, and, if necessary, consulting other health professionals, and education of the child and family about CH. Harmonization of diagnostics, treatment, and follow-up will optimize patient outcomes. Lastly, all individuals with CH are entitled to a well-planned transition of care from pediatrics to adult medicine. Conclusions: This consensus guidelines update should be used to further optimize detection, diagnosis, treatment, and follow-up of children with all forms of CH in the light of the most recent evidence. It should be helpful in convincing health authorities of the benefits of neonatal screening for CH. Further epidemiological and experimental studies are needed to understand the increased incidence of this condition.

Keywords: central hypothyroidism; congenital hypothyroidism; dyshormonogenesis; guidelines; neonatal screening; thyroid dysgenesis.

Publication types

  • Consensus Development Conference
  • Practice Guideline
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Benchmarking / standards
  • Congenital Hypothyroidism / diagnosis
  • Congenital Hypothyroidism / epidemiology
  • Congenital Hypothyroidism / therapy*
  • Consensus
  • Endocrinology / standards*
  • Evidence-Based Medicine / standards
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Neonatal Screening / standards
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Prognosis
  • Risk Factors
  • Transition to Adult Care / standards