Article Text

Download PDFPDF
When should we be conducting thyroid function tests in newborns and young infants?
  1. Michael O Ogundele1,
  2. Mike Waterson2
  1. 1Department of Paediatrics, Royal United Hospital Bath NHS Trust, Combe Park, Bath BA1 3NG, UK
  2. 2Department of Chemical Pathology, Torbay Hospital, Lawes Bridge, Torquay TQ2 7AA, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Michael O Ogundele, 40 Redruth Road, Liverpool L11 6NA, UK; m.ogundele{at}


An audit of local practice was undertaken as regards requests for thyroid function tests (TFT) in children aged between birth and 3 months at two local hospitals in South West England between 2005 and 2008. A total of 406 tests were performed (2.6 tests per week) over a 2-year period at a teaching hospital (70 tests per 1000 live births yearly), with 233 tests (1.5 tests per week) performed over a 3-year period at a local district hospital (39 tests per 1000 live births yearly). The highest proportion of all the tests was performed as routine investigation of prolonged neonatal jaundice (64% and 55%, respectively). Other common indications were maternal thyroid disorders (5.4% vs 4.7%) and suspected neonatal thyroid disorders (3% vs 9%). There was no confirmed diagnosis of infantile thyroid disease. Available evidence and this audit suggest that too many thyroid function tests are unnecessarily performed in young infants.

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.


  • Competing interests None.

  • Ethics approval This study was conducted with the approval of the South Devon Healthcare Trust, Torbay Hospital, Torquay and Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital, Exeter.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Patient consent Not obtained.