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Endocrine. 2009 Dec;36(3):355-67. doi: 10.1007/s12020-009-9239-2. Epub 2009 Sep 25.

Nonthyroidal illness syndrome in children.

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Department of Pediatrics, Division of Endocrinology, Stollery Children's Hospital, University of Alberta, 1C4 Walter Mackenzie Health Sciences Centre, 8440 112th Street, Edmonton, AB T6G 2B7, Canada.


Neuroendocrine changes in the hypothalamic-pituitary-thyroid axis during critical illness result in nonthyroidal illness syndrome (NTIS) characterized by abnormal thyrotropin (TSH) and thyroid hormone levels. Studies looking at the natural history of neuroendocrine changes during critical illness have revealed the presence of NTIS. NTIS has been described in a variety of patient settings. Many studies have tried to uncover the pathophysiology behind NTIS and several theories are proposed. Whether NTIS requires treatment or intervention is still controversial and the results of the treatment studies are arguably mixed. Whether implicitly stated or not, the underlying purpose of all the natural history, pathophysiology, or treatment studies is to determine whether NTIS is adaptive or maladaptive. Some studies have illustrated a correlation between illness severity and the degree of NTIS but a cause and effect relationship is still elusive. The human studies can be divided between those with either adult or pediatric subjects, with much less data available in the latter. This review examines the available literature on NTIS with an emphasis on the pediatric literature.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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