JOURNAL ARTICLE

Screening strategies for thyroid disorders in the first and second trimester of pregnancy in China

Hong Yang, Minglong Shao, Liangmiao Chen, Qingshou Chen, Lechu Yu, Lingqiao Cai, Zhenzhen Lin, Chi Zhang, Xuemian Lu
PloS One 2014, 9 (6): e99611
24925135

BACKGROUND: Thyroid dysfunction during pregnancy is associated with multiple adverse outcomes, but whether all women should be screened for thyroid disorders during pregnancy remains controversial.

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the effectiveness of the targeted high risk case-finding approach for identifying women with thyroid dysfunction during the first and second trimesters of pregnancy.

METHODS: Levels of thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), free thyroxine (FT4), and thyroid peroxidase antibodies (TPOAb) were measured in 3882 Chinese women during the first and second trimester of pregnancy. All tested women were divided into the high risk or non-high risk groups, based on their history, findings from physical examination, or other clinical features suggestive of a thyroid disorder. Diagnosis of thyroid disorders was made according to the standard trimester-specific reference intervals. The prevalence of thyroid disorders in each group was determined, and the feasibility of a screening approach focusing exclusively on high risk women was evaluated to estimate the ability of finding women with thyroid dysfunction.

RESULTS: The prevalence of overt hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism in the high risk group was higher than in the non-high risk group during the first trimester (0.8% vs 0, χ2 = 7.10, p = 0.008; 1.6% vs 0.2%, χ2 = 7.02, p = 0.008, respectively). The prevalence of hypothyroxinemia or TPOAb positivity was significantly higher in the high risk group than in the non-high risk group during the second trimester (1.3% vs 0.5%, χ2 = 4.49, p = 0.034; 11.6% vs 8.4%, χ2 = 6.396, p = 0.011, respectively). The total prevalence of hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism and the prevalence of subclinical hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism were not statistically different between the high risk and non-high risk groups, for either the first or second trimester.

CONCLUSION: The high risk screening strategy failed to detect the majority of pregnant women with thyroid disorders. Therefore, we recommend universal screening of sTSH, FT4, and TPOAb during the first trimester and second trimester of pregnancy.

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