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Nat Rev Endocrinol. 2010 Sep;6(9):526-9. doi: 10.1038/nrendo.2010.91. Epub 2010 Jun 8.

Serum TSH determinations in pregnancy: how, when and why?

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Department of Internal Medicine, University Hospital Saint-Pierre, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Rue Haute 322, B-1000 Brussels, Belgium.


Improvements in the sensitivity of the serum TSH assay have revolutionized our strategies for investigating thyroid function and firmly established TSH as the first-line thyroid function test for most clinical situations, including pregnancy. As a single hormone determination, serum TSH provides the most sensitive index to reliably detect thyroid function abnormalities. Normal thyroid function is important to ensure the best possible pregnancy outcome; in addition, disorders of the thyroid gland are relatively frequent in women of childbearing age. The aim of this article is, therefore, to present relevant information on analytical, as well as clinical, aspects regarding serum TSH determination and its usefulness to detect subtle thyroid function abnormalities associated with the pregnant state, namely overt and subclinical hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism. As these disorders are associated with poor pregnancy outcome, the authors of the present article are in favor of serum TSH measurement for all pregnant women.

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