Neonates Born to Mothers with Graves’ Disease: 15 Year Experience of a Pediatric Endocrinology Department

Inês Romão Luz, João Rio Martins, Mónica Jerónimo, Joana Serra Caetano, Rita Cardoso, Isabel Dinis, Alice Mirante


Introduction: Graves disease is characterized by the existence of autoantibodies directed to the thyrotropin receptor, which can have a stimulatory/inhibitory action, in women with the condition, their fetus or neonate. Our aim was to review the case series of these neonates in order to establish neonatal thyroid function predictors.
Material and Methods: Retrospective cohort study of the database of the Department of Pediatric Endocrinology, including patients born to mothers with Graves’ disease, between 2002 and 2017. Clinical and biochemical data were collected from mothers and offspring.
Results: Fifty newborns, from 46 women with a median of 3.5 years after diagnosis, were included. During all trimesters of pregnancy, more than half of women had positive autoantibodies directed to the thyrotropin receptor. Not every woman had a complete thyroid function evaluation every trimester. In 32 newborns, cord blood screening was done. During the neonatal period, there were three cases of hypothyroidism and two of hyperthyroidism. The mothers of these five newborns had higher levels of free thyroid hormones during the second trimester (p = 0.03). The level of antibodies directed to the thyrotropin receptor was significantly higher in the cord blood (p = 0.03) and in the first neonatal test (p = 0.03) of these dysthyroid newborns.
Discussion: Our results reinforce the need for every pregnant woman with Graves’ disease to be subject to thyroid function and autoantibodies evaluation during every trimester, as well as the importance of evaluating these antibodies in cord blood.
Conclusion: High levels of free thyroid hormones during the second trimester of pregnancy and antibodies directed to the thyrotropin receptor value in cord blood are predictors of dysthyroidism in neonates born from women with Grave’s disease.


Graves Disease; Infant, Newborn; Mothers; Pregnancy Complications; Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects

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