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Eur J Endocrinol. 2010 Oct;163(4):645-50. doi: 10.1530/EJE-10-0516. Epub 2010 Aug 3.

Universal screening detects two-times more thyroid disorders in early pregnancy than targeted high-risk case finding.

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Department of Internal Medicine, Faculty of Medicine and University Hospital in Hradec Kralove, Charles University in Prague, Sokolska 581, Hradec Kralove, Czech Republic.



Screening of thyroid disorders in pregnancy has been controversial. Recent recommendations favour targeted high-risk case finding, though this approach may miss a significant number of those affected. We aimed to assess the prevalence of accepted high-risk criteria in women with autoimmune thyroiditis and/or hypothyroidism detected from universal screening in an iodine-sufficient population.


In 400 non-selected women in the 9-11th gestational week, thyroid-related tests were performed, and those with abnormalities were offered consultation.


TSH was determined by IRMA, and the upper cut-off value for screening was set at 3.5 mIU/l. For free thyroxine (FT(4)) and thyroperoxidase antibodies (TPO-Ab), RIAs were used, with cut-offs of <10 pmol/l and >50 IU/ml respectively. Endocrinological consultation included Doppler ultrasonography and was aimed to confirm autoimmune thyroiditis and/or hypothyroidism. The prevalence of consensus high-risk criteria was assessed.


Among the 400 women, 65 (16.3%) had ≥1 abnormality: higher TSH was found in 10.3%, lower FT(4) in 2% and positive TPO-Ab in 8.3%. Fifty-one women were examined and followed up. Levo-T(4) treatment was initiated in 49 women for autoimmune thyroiditis (in 42), hypothyroidism (in 34) or both (in 27). Only 22 (45%) of 49 treated women fulfilled ≥1 high-risk criterion: most commonly family history (31%), history of miscarriage or preterm delivery (14%) and personal history (8%).


Over half (55%) of pregnant women with abnormalities suggestive of autoimmune thyroiditis and/or hypothyroidism would be missed if only those with high-risk criteria were examined. A more extensive screening of thyroid autoimmunity and dysfunction seems warranted.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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