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Congenital Hypothyroidism In Children


Congenital hypothyroidism is a condition that is present at birth. Your child may be born without a thyroid gland, or his thyroid gland may not make enough thyroid hormone. Thyroid hormones help control body temperature, heart rate, growth, and how you gain or lose weight. In children, thyroid hormones play an important role in normal growth and development.


Informed consent

is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that your child may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your child's medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done to your child. Make sure all of your questions are answered.


Let your child rest. For infants, sleeping long hours and napping are normal. Ask your child's healthcare provider when your child may return to normal activity.

Emotional support:

Stay with your child for comfort and support as often as possible while he is in the hospital. Ask another family member or someone close to the family to stay with your child when you cannot be there. Bring items from home that will comfort your child, such as a favorite blanket or toy.

Heart monitor:

This is also called an ECG or EKG. Sticky pads placed on your child's skin record the electrical activity of his heart.

Intake and output:

  • Your child's healthcare provider may need to know how much liquid your child is getting and urinating. Healthcare providers may also want to know how much your child eats and if he had a bowel movement.
  • You may need to save your child's diapers so a healthcare provider can weigh them. A urine bag may be used to collect and measure the amount of urine, or your child may need to urinate into a container in bed. Do not throw away diapers or the urine bag, or flush urine down the toilet before asking your child's healthcare provider.


Your child may need one or more of the following medicines:

  • Heart medicine: This medicine may be given to make your child's heart beat stronger or more regularly. There are many different kinds of heart medicines. Talk with caregivers to find out what your child's medicine is and why he is taking it.
  • Thyroid hormone medicine: Your child may be given this medicine to bring his thyroid hormone level back to normal.


Your child may need to have any of the following tests:

  • Blood tests: Blood is taken to learn how well your child's thyroid gland is working. These tests tell his healthcare providers how low his thyroid hormone levels are in his blood. Blood tests may also show how well any treatments are working.
  • Thyroid scan: This test shows healthcare providers how your child's thyroid is working. Radioactive dye may be put into your child's IV or given to him to drink. The working part of the thyroid gland absorbs (soaks up) the dye. Two to 48 hours later, healthcare providers put a machine called a gamma camera over his neck. The machine takes pictures showing the areas of his thyroid that absorbed the dye. This test should not be done in newborns.
  • Thyroid ultrasound: This is a test that looks at the inside of your child's thyroid gland. Sound waves are used to show pictures of his thyroid gland and tissues on a TV-like screen.


Without treatment, your child may have learning problems, poor growth and intelligence, or mental retardation. Your child may also develop myxedema, which is a dangerous condition. Myxedema may cause swelling in your child's legs, ankles, lungs, or around his heart. He may have seizures, or go into a deep coma and die if he does not get medical care quickly.


You have the right to help plan your child's care. Learn about your child's health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your child's caregivers to decide what care you want for your child.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

Learn more about Congenital Hypothyroidism In Children (Inpatient Care)

Associated drugs

Micromedex® Care Notes