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Health- related quality of life and self-worth in 10-year old children with congenital hypothyroidism diagnosed by neonatal screening

Liesbeth van der Sluijs Veer1*, Marlies JE Kempers23, Heleen Maurice-Stam1, Bob F Last14, Tom Vulsma2 and Martha A Grootenhuis1

Author Affiliations

1 Pediatric Psychosocial Department, Emma Children’s Hospital AMC, A3-241, P.O. Box 22700,, 1100,, DE, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

2 Department of Pediatric Endocrinology, Emma Children’s Hospital, Academic Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

3 Department of Clinical Genetics, Radboud Universtiy Nijmegen Medical Centre, Nijmegen, The Netherlands

4 Department of Developmental psychology, VU University, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

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Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health 2012, 6:32  doi:10.1186/1753-2000-6-32

Published: 3 October 2012



Much is written about cognitive and motor development; less is known about social and emotional consequences of growing up with congenital hypothyroidism (CH).

The objectives of the study were: (1) to compare health related quality of life (HRQoL) and self-worth of 10 year old patients with CH with the general population; (2) to explore associations of disease factors, IQ and motor skills with the outcomes.


Children with CH and their parents completed several questionnaires. Patients were classified to ‘severe CH, n = 41’ or ‘moderate/mild CH, n = 41’ based on pre-treatment FT4 concentration.

Differences between CH and the general population were tested by analysis of covariance and one sample t-tests (mean scale scores HRQoL and self-worth), chi-square tests and binomial tests (% at risk of impaired HRQoL and self-worth). Linear regression analyses corrected for gender were conducted to explore associations of the outcomes with disease factors, IQ and motor skills.


Patients with CH reported lower mean HRQoL on motor, cognitive and social functioning, and on autonomy and positive emotions (p < 0.0001). Patients were also more often at risk for impaired HRQoL and self-worth. No differences were found between the severity groups. Lower IQ was only significant associated with worse cognitive HRQoL. Initial FT4 plasma, age at onset of therapy, initial T4 dose and motor skills were not significantly associated with HRQoL and self-worth.


Negative consequences in terms of HRQoL and self-worth are prevalent in children with CH, independent of disease factors, IQ and motor skills. Physicians should to be attentive to these consequences and provide attention and supportive care.

Congenital hypothyroidism; Quality of life; Self-worth; Children