LifeCell BabyShield offers T4 Testing (Thyroxine testing) as a part of newborn screening tests to detect congenital hypothyroidism in infants. It is an effective way to screen newborn babies for the presence of congenital hypothyroidism in addition to TSH evaluation (routinely performed).
Congenital Hypothyroidism (CH)
Congenital Hypothyroidism also known as cretinism is caused by inadequate production of thyroid hormone in newborns due to partial or complete dysfunction of the thyroid gland. Congenital means ‘present at birth’ and Hypothyroidism is the deficiency of thyroid hormone. This condition affects 1 in 4000 newborn babies globally and may lead to intellectual disability, poor growth, and physical development.
The thyroid hormone, thyroxine is essential for the normal growth and development of the baby’s body and brain. Infants with congenital hypothyroidism have specific symptoms such as sluggishness, excessive sleeping, poor muscle tone, large tongue, small stature, low body temperature, hoarse cry, infrequent bowel movement and jaundice which usually go unnoticed. If not treated, it may lead to growth failure, delayed development and irreversible mental impairment with low IQ.
Congenital hypothyroidism is one of the most common congenital endocrine disorders in babies which can be easily detected through newborn screening tests.
Newborn Screening for CH
According to a multi-centric study conducted by Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) National Task Force Team from 2007 to 2012, it was found that 1 in 1172 babies born in India has CH, particularly high among south Indian population accounting to 1 in 727 babies. With the alarming incidence of Congenital Hypothyroidism and other inborn errors of metabolism, it is evident that newborn screening is important for infants. Most developed countries made newborn screening tests mandatory due to its efficiency in detecting various medical conditions.
Newborn screening is the first and most important test for infants to check the risk of over 50 genetic and metabolic conditions in newborn babies which cannot be detected by looking at the baby. Most of these conditions are treatable; with proper diagnosis, early treatment, and diet modifications, the children can lead a normal life. Congenital hypothyroidism can be detected in babies using newborn screening test which helps in early treatment.
Most newborn screening tests consider Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) measurement to check the presence of CH condition. BabyShield launches T4 testing for congenital hypothyroidism on DBS (dried blood spot) in addition to TSH testing.
Need For T4 Testing
Newborn screening with TSH testing detects primary hypothyroidism while it may miss secondary and tertiary hypothyroidism. Simultaneous measurement of both TSH & T4 hormones has a greater sensitivity for detection of such cases of congenital hypothyroidism. Most screening programs in Europe, Canada, Mexico, Japan, and the United States include T4 testing as a next level test that measures the Thyroxine hormone level to detect the presence of CH in infants.
BabyShield T4 Testing
Most labs in India use the serum as a matrix for complete thyroid profile and require a minimum of 2ml blood collected through venipuncture method to perform the test while BabyShield uses the same sample collected for newborn screening to perform T4 testing. Low sample volume (around 100 μl) collected on a filter paper can help resolve the issues of sample collection, transport, lower sample volume, painless screening for baby. This also minimizes false positive cases.
This advanced technology can give effective test results for congenital hypothyroidism in India, thereby helping parents and doctors save time, effort and begin early diagnosis & treatment if tested positive.