, Volume 36, Issue 3, pp 355–367 | Cite as

Nonthyroidal illness syndrome in children

  • Seth D. MarksEmail author
Invited Review


Neuroendocrine changes in the hypothalamic–pituitary–thyroid axis during critical illness result in nonthyroidal illness syndrome (NTIS) characterized by abnormal thyrotropin (TSH) and thyroid hormone levels. Studies looking at the natural history of neuroendocrine changes during critical illness have revealed the presence of NTIS. NTIS has been described in a variety of patient settings. Many studies have tried to uncover the pathophysiology behind NTIS and several theories are proposed. Whether NTIS requires treatment or intervention is still controversial and the results of the treatment studies are arguably mixed. Whether implicitly stated or not, the underlying purpose of all the natural history, pathophysiology, or treatment studies is to determine whether NTIS is adaptive or maladaptive. Some studies have illustrated a correlation between illness severity and the degree of NTIS but a cause and effect relationship is still elusive. The human studies can be divided between those with either adult or pediatric subjects, with much less data available in the latter. This review examines the available literature on NTIS with an emphasis on the pediatric literature.


Nonthyroidal illness Cardiac surgery Thyroid Pediatrics 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Pediatrics, Division of EndocrinologyStollery Children’s Hospital, University of AlbertaEdmontonCanada

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