Objective: To identify risk factors for permanent and transient congenital hypothyroidism (CH). Design: A population-based case-control study was carried out by using the network created in Italy for the National Register of Infants with CH. Methods: Four controls were enrolled for each new CH infant; 173 cases and 690 controls were enrolled in 4 years. In order to distinguish among risk factors for permanent and transient CH, diagnosis was re-evaluated 3 years after enrolment when there was a suspicion of transient CH being present. Familial, maternal, neonatal and environmental influences were investigated. Results: An increased risk for permanent CH was detected in twins by a multivariate analysis (odds ratio (OR) = 12.2, 95% confidence interval (CI): 2.4-62.3). A statistically significant association with additional birth defects, female gender and gestational age >40 weeks was also confirmed. Although not significant, an increased risk of CH was observed among infants with a family history of thyroid diseases among parents (OR = 1.9, 95% CI: 0.7-5.2). Maternal diabetes was also found to be slightly associated with permanent CH (OR = 15.7, 95% CI: 0.9-523) in infants who were large for gestational age. With regard to transient CH, intrauterine growth retardation and preterm delivery were independent risk factors for this form of CH. Conclusion: This study showed that many risk factors contribute to the aetiology of CH. In particular, our results suggested a multifactorial origin of CH in which genetic and environmental factors play a role in the development of the disease.
ASJC Scopus subject areas