Congenital Hypothyroidism: Role of Nuclear Medicine.

Seminars in nuclear medicine

PubMedID: 28237002

Keller-Petrot I, Leger J, Sergent-Alaoui A, de Labriolle-Vaylet C. Congenital Hypothyroidism: Role of Nuclear Medicine. Semin Nucl Med. 2017;47(2):135-142.
Thyroid scintigraphy holds a key place in the etiologic workup of neonatal hypothyroidism. Routine screening for this disorder in maternity hospitals in industrialized countries, for nearly 40 years, has permitted early treatment and thereby helped to prevent its physical and mental complications. Neonatal hypothyroidism affects approximately 1 in 3000 births. The most common causes are abnormal thyroid gland development and defective hormone synthesis by an eutopic thyroid gland. The incidence of the latter has risen in recent years, for reasons that remain unclear. A thorough etiologic workup helps to determine the disease type. Current guidelines recommend thyroid imaging by means of ultrasound and scintigraphy. Ultrasound should be done by a practitioner trained to examine the cervical region of newborns, as the thyroid is very small and must be distinguished from the particular aspect of the "thyroid empty lodge. " Ultrasound lacks sensitivity for detecting small ectopic glands but is the gold standard for measuring thyroid dimensions. Scintigraphy provides an etiologic diagnosis in most cases. The two isotopes used in this setting are technetium-99m and iodine-123. The latter isotope gives more contrast and allows the perchlorate discharge test to be performed to detect abnormal iodide organification in the neonate with an eutopic thyroid. If scintigraphy cannot be performed during the neonatal period, a postponed procedure can be achieved after 3 years of age. Close cooperation between the nuclear medicine physician and the pediatric endocrinologist is crucial for timely and optimized scintigraphy.