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Horm Res Paediatr. 2013;79(1):39-43. doi: 10.1159/000342644. Epub 2012 Nov 14.

Impact of thyrotropin receptor antibody levels on fetal development in two successive pregnancies in a woman with Graves' disease.

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Department of Endocrinology, Children's and Women's Health, St. Olavs University Hospital, Trondheim, Norway.



Treatment with radioiodine for Graves' disease regularly increases the level of antithyroid antibodies, and transplacental passage of stimulating thyrotropin receptor antibodies (TRAb) may cause fetal hyperthyroidism.


A 21-year-old woman with Graves' disease received radioiodine treatment to avoid use of antithyroid drugs in pregnancy. She became pregnant 4 months later and was euthyroid during pregnancy. In gestational week (GW) 33, she was admitted with an increased fetal heart rate of 176-180 beats/min. Fetal echocardiography indicated cardiac decompensation. The neonate had severe hyperthyroidism (free thyroxine >100 pmol/l, nv 12.0-22.0), cardiac insufficiency, insufficient weight gain, goiter and considerably accelerated skeletal age. In the mother and neonate, TRAb was >40 IU/l (nv <1.0), indicating transplacental passage of stimulating antibodies. After delivery, TRAb remained >40 IU/l in the woman, and 18 months later she underwent total thyroidectomy with subsequent decline in TRAb. In her next pregnancy, TRAb fluctuated between 38 and 17 IU/l, and repeated fetal ultrasound showed no goiter or sign of hyperthyroidism. In cord blood, TRAb was 10.9 IU/l, and the neonate had normal thyroid hormone levels.


This case report illustrates the impact of maternal TRAb level for neonatal outcome in two successive pregnancies.

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