Lab Med Online.  2019 Oct;9(4):232-235. 10.3343/lmo.2019.9.4.232.

Iodine Deficiency in Neonates: Where Do We Stand After a Quarter Century of Initiating Iodization Programs?

  • 1Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Aga Khan University, Karachi, Pakistan.


An observational study was conducted at the Section of Clinical Chemistry, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, to assess the iodine status using the World Health Organization (WHO), United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF), and the International Council for Control of Iodine Deficiency Disorders (ICCIDD) consensus criteria, which state that >3% prevalence of serum thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) ≥10 mIU/L in the population is an indicator of iodine deficiency. Serum neonatal TSH was analyzed from January to December 2013. In a period of one year, a total of 11,597 neonates with the mean (25 percentile, 75 percentile value) age of 2.0 days (0.5-3.5) were tested for serum TSH. The overall mean TSH level was 3.38 mIU/L (5.63-1.96), with optimal levels (1-39 mIU/L) in 93%, <1 mIU/L in 6.3%, and ≥40 mIU/L in 0.3% neonates. Of all the neonates, 7.9% (N=916) showed TSH ≥10 mIU/L which is higher than the recommended WHO/UNICEF/ICCIDD criteria for mild endemicity for iodine deficiency in the population. These results suggest that iodine deficiency is still prevalent in our population, indicating a need for effective intervention programs and increasing awareness regarding the use of iodized salt and supplementation in all reproductive-aged women to prevent iodine deficiency in neonates.


Iodine; Deficiency; Congenital hypothyroidism; Neonates; Thyroid stimulating hormone
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