Trusted Resources: Evidence & Education
Scientific literature and patient education texts
A Mild Risk of Neonatal Hyperthyroidism Follows Radioactive Iodine Therapy for Graves’ Disease Prior to Pregnancy
source: Clinical Thyroidology
Graves’ disease is an autoimmune condition and the most common cause of hyperthyroidism in women of childbearing age. It is caused by the patient making an antibody called TRAB (TSH Receptor Antibody) that attacks and turns on the thyroid, making it overactive. TRAB is detectable in the blood of most patients with Graves’ disease. TRAB can pass through to the baby and cause hyperthyroidism after delivery in mothers with Graves’ disease. This is called neonatal Graves’ disease. This is a risk for all babies that are born to mothers with Graves’ disease.
TRAB tends to decrease with treatment of Graves’ disease with anti-thyroid medications and, if it goes away or decreases low enough, the Graves’ disease goes into remission. TRAB also tends to decrease years after surgery. However, the amount of TRAB rises for several months after radioactive iodine therapy, but this effect may last longer in some individuals. This is likely due to the effect of the destruction of the thyroid by the radioactive iodine therapy. It is unknown if this increase in TRAB would have any effect on the thyroid function of babies or newborns of mother that have been previously treated with radioactive iodine. The goal of this study is to assess the risk of hyperthyroidism in newborns of mothers who were treated with radioactive iodine within 2 years before their pregnancy.
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