Cardiac function in congenital hypothyroidism: Impairment and response to L-T4 therapy

G. Balducci, A. Acquafredda, F. Amendola, M. Natuzzi, N. Laforgia, L. Cavallo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Electrocardiograms (heart rate, QRS voltage, QRS axis in the frontal plane, Q-Tc interval), echocardiograms [left ventricular fractional shortening (LVFS); preejection period (PEP); PEP/left ventricular ejection time (PEP/LVET) ratio; end-diastolic left ventricular free wall and interventricular septum thickness; presence of pericardial effusion], and thyrotropin (TSH), thyroxine (T4), and triiodothyronine (T3) serum levels were evaluated before and 1 week, 1 and 2 months after the start of l-thyroxine (L-T4) therapy in 11 infants with congenital hypothyroidism (CH), aged 16-59 days when first seen. Before the start of therapy, infants with CH had significantly lower QRS complexes and LVFS and significantly higher values for Q-Tc, PEP, and PEP/LVET than normal infants of the same age. The QTc interval, PEP and PEP/LVET ratio of infants with CH were significantly greater before than 1 week after L-T4 therapy, and LVFS was significantly lower before than 1 month after L-T4 therapy. Four of the infants with CH had small pericardial effusions, which disappeared within the first week of therapy. QRS axis in the frontal plane, Q-Tc interval, and PEP were negatively correlated with logT4 and logT3 serum levels. PEP/LVET ratios were negatively correlated with logT4 serum values. The QRS voltage values were positively correlated with logT4 and logT3 serum values. The frontal-plane QRS axis, Q-Tc interval, and PEP/LVET ratio were positively correlated with logTSH serum levels. The QRS voltages were negatively correlated with TSH serum levels. Our data show that before therapy infants with CH have the same functional, but not morphological, abnormalities as older hypothyroid ones and that one third of them have small pericardial effusions. L-T4 therapy rapidly reverses these changes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)28-32
Number of pages5
JournalPediatric Cardiology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1991


  • Cardiac function
  • Congenital hypothyroidism
  • l-thyroxine therapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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