Abnormalities of thyroid function in infants with Down syndrome

J Pediatr. 1984 Apr;104(4):545-9. doi: 10.1016/s0022-3476(84)80544-2.


We describe 12 of 1130 infants with Down syndrome in whom various degrees of thyroid dysfunction were detected by neonatal screening. These aberrations were confirmed subsequently in 11 patients. In eight of 11 children, persistent primary hypothyroidism, was diagnosed, whereas in the remaining three patients transient thyroid abnormalities were noted. The twelfth patient died and could not be retested. We found an incidence of persistent primary congenital hypothyroidism in infants with Down syndrome of 1:141, or about 28 times more than in the general population. The cause of thyroid aberrations in these infants remains unclear; none of the studied patients had agenesis or ectopia of the thyroid gland. On initial screening most infants with Down syndrome had only mild biochemical abnormalities, with gradual decompensation occurring thereafter. Infants with Down syndrome are therefore at high risk for congenital hypothyroidism and should have careful follow-up to prevent further deterioration of their mental development or growth.

MeSH terms

  • Child, Preschool
  • Congenital Hypothyroidism*
  • Down Syndrome / complications*
  • Down Syndrome / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Hypothyroidism / complications
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Mass Screening
  • Thyroid Gland / physiopathology
  • Thyrotropin / blood
  • Thyroxine / blood


  • Thyrotropin
  • Thyroxine