Assessing Thyroid Function in Infants and Children

Part of the Thyroid Function Testing book series (ENDO, volume 28)


This chapter will review assessment of thyroid function through measurement of serum thyroid hormone and thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) levels in infants and children. There are aspects of thyroid function that are unique to infants and children, as compared to thyroid function in adults. While serum TSH is the single most accurate test to diagnose hypo- or hyperthyroidism [1], age-related normal ranges are higher and vary with age more in infants and children as compared to adults [2]. Further, a TSH level alone is not adequate to diagnose central hypothyroidism or thyroid hormone resistance. In addition, in the early stages of thyroid dysfunction, a serum TSH abnormality will precede an abnormality in thyroid hormone levels, e.g., mild or subclinical hypo- or hyperthyroidism. For all of these reasons, pediatric endocrinologists prefer to measure both serum TSH and serum free thyroxine (T4; or total T4) in the evaluation of patients with suspected thyroid dysfunction.


Thyroid Stimulate Hormone Subclinical Hypothyroidism Congenital Hypothyroidism Thyroid Stimulate Hormone Level Primary Hypothyroidism 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Pediatrics, Division of EndocrinologyOregon Health & Science UniversityPortlandUSA

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