Congenital hypothyroidism (CHT)
About 1 in 3000 babies born in the UK has congenital hypothyroidism (CHT). Congenital means the baby is born with the condition. Babies with CHT do not make enough of the hormone thyroxine, an important chemical made in the body. Thyroxine is produced by a gland in the neck called the thyroid. Without thyroxine, babies do not grow properly and can develop permanent physical and mental disabilities. Although CHT cannot be cured, it can be treated simply and successfully.
Newborn blood spot screening is vital because it helps to identify babies with CHT before they start to show symptoms. A few babies born with CHT may have symptoms such as jaundice, dry skin, puffy eyelids, a large tongue, a hoarse cry, feeding problems, constipation and sleepiness.
CHT preterm repeat policy
Babies born at less than 32 weeks gestation (less than or equal to 31+6 days) will need a repeat test. The repeat test should be done at 28 days postnatal age, counting date of birth as day 0, or the date of discharge home, whichever is the sooner. For more information on the revised policy please see the CHT preterm policy page.
Information sheet on screening for CHT
Communication guidelines - CHT is suspected - New
CHT: Initial clinical referral standards and guidelines - New (available in hard copy)
CHT is suspected leaflet - New (available in hard copy)
CHT and your child leaflet - New (available in hard copy)
Newborn blood spot screening for babies in hospital specialist units and babies born early leaflet