Congenital and acquired goiter in children
- Stephen LaFranchi, MD
Stephen LaFranchi, MD
- Professor of Pediatrics
- Oregon Health & Sciences University
- Section Editors
- Douglas S Ross, MD
Douglas S Ross, MD
- Section Editor — Thyroid Disease
- Professor of Medicine
- Harvard Medical School
- Mitchell E Geffner, MD
Mitchell E Geffner, MD
- Section Editor — Pediatric Endocrinology
- Professor of Pediatrics
- Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California
Children may have goiters that are diffuse or nodular, and the goiters may be associated with normal, decreased, or increased thyroid hormone production. The causes of goiter in children and adults are similar, but their relative frequency varies substantially. In the United States, for example, most children with a goiter have chronic autoimmune thyroiditis, whereas among adults, nontoxic nodular goiters predominate.
Goiter may be present at birth or detected at any age thereafter. The goiter may be caused by increased thyrotropin (TSH) secretion (acting as a thyroid growth factor) resulting from hypothyroidism; antibodies that activate TSH receptors (Graves' disease) with increased thyroid hormone secretion; or TSH-independent processes, such as inflammation associated with autoimmune thyroiditis, benign and malignant tumors, and infiltrative disease.
Once a goiter is detected, the appropriate diagnostic evaluation is aimed at identifying the underlying cause and assessing thyroid function. Both of these factors will determine management. This topic review will consider congenital and acquired goiters, independent of their function, in infants and children.
Thyroid nodules and cancers, and the causes of hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism in children are discussed separately. (See "Thyroid nodules and cancer in children" and "Clinical manifestations and diagnosis of hyperthyroidism in children and adolescents" and "Acquired hypothyroidism in childhood and adolescence".)
THYROID SIZE IN INFANTS AND CHILDREN
The mean (± standard deviation [SD]) thyroid volume, measured by ultrasonography, in 68 term neonates in Chicago was 0.9 ± 0.2 mL . In an extensive study of 7- to 14-year-old children from an iodine-sufficient area of Italy, the mean thyroid volume increased with age from 3.1 to 6.3 mL (table 1) . Thyroid size correlates with body surface area; among children 6 to 14 years of age, the upper 95th percentile was 6.2 mL per m2 in one series . In a report of 6- to 12-year old children from Japan, where intake of iodine is relatively high (median urinary iodine 281.6 mcg/L), thyroid volumes were smaller, increasing from 1.5 mL to 3.8 mL over this age period . Clinically, we use the "rule of thumb" to evaluate thyroid size in older children: each lobe of the normal thyroid gland is approximately the size of the terminal phalanx of the child's thumb.To continue reading this article, you must log in with your personal, hospital, or group practice subscription. For more information on subscription options, click below on the option that best describes you:
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- THYROID SIZE IN INFANTS AND CHILDREN
- CONGENITAL GOITER
- Inborn errors of thyroid hormone production
- Transplacental passage of maternal thyroid-reactive antibodies
- Maternal ingestion of antithyroid drugs and other goitrogens
- Activating mutations of the TSH-receptor (congenital nonimmune hyperthyroidism)
- Activating mutations of the G-protein alpha subunit (McCune-Albright syndrome)
- Thyroid hemiagenesis
- ACQUIRED GOITER
- Chronic autoimmune (Hashimoto's) thyroiditis
- - Associations
- - Clinical presentation
- - Evaluation
- - Treatment
- Colloid goiter
- Iodine-deficiency goiter
- Ingestion of goitrogens
- Subacute granulomatous thyroiditis
- Acute suppurative thyroiditis
- Thyroid infiltrative disease
- Goiter with hyperthyroidism
- - Graves' disease
- - Toxic adenoma
- Thyroid cysts
- Thyroglossal duct cysts
- Thyroid adenomas or carcinomas
- SUMMARY AND RECOMMENDATIONS