Unexpected Elevated Free Thyroid Hormones in Pregnancy.


BACKGROUND The use of thyrotropin and free thyroid hormone assays to evaluate thyroid function is widespread, but in some situations the results are inconsistent with the patient's thyroid status. SUMMARY A 35-year-old woman with a known diagnosis of chronic autoimmune thyroiditis was referred to the authors' clinic at week 26 of her second pregnancy. The patient was clinically euthyroid. Consistent with this, her serum thyrotropin (TSH) was normal (0.79 mIU/L), but she had elevated free thyroid hormones-free triiodothyronine (fT3) and free thyroxine (fT4)-as determined by a one-step chemiluminescent assay. The patient was taking levothyroxine replacement therapy (125 μg/day), and the dose was confirmed. Previous blood tests showed concordance between TSH and free thyroid hormone values. The patient was followed up throughout gestation and at 12 months postpartum. During gestation, her free thyroid hormones remained high using one-step methods, while the total thyroid hormone concentration values were within the reference range, in agreement with the TSH values. Postpartum fT4 and fT3 values returned progressively to normality, in agreement with the TSH values. The presence of circulating thyroid hormone autoantibodies (THAb) was hypothesized, which are known to interfere, although to a variable extent, with thyroid hormone one-step assays. Using stored frozen sera, this hypothesis was confirmed indirectly by measuring normal levels of fT3 and fT4 with a two-step method, and directly by demonstrating THAb against the two hormones. CONCLUSION Despite their relative rarity, circulating THAb may be suspected when laboratory data are not consistent and contrast with the clinical picture. To the authors' knowledge, no previous case of transient appearance of THAb in pregnancy has been described.

Cite this paper

@article{Teti2016UnexpectedEF, title={Unexpected Elevated Free Thyroid Hormones in Pregnancy.}, author={Claudia Teti and Elena Nazzari and Marina Raffaella Galletti and Mattia Grazia Mandolfino and Francesca Pupo and Giampaola Pesce and Flavia B Lillo and Marcello Bagnasco and Salvatore Benvenga}, journal={Thyroid : official journal of the American Thyroid Association}, year={2016}, volume={26 11}, pages={1640-1644} }