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Congenital hypothyroidism (CHT)

Babies born with congenital hypothyroidism (CHT) do not make enough of a hormone called thyroxine. Thyroxine is a chemical made by a gland in the neck called the thyroid.

Babies with CHT may not have a fully formed thyroid, or it may be missing. Sometimes the thyroid is normal, but it may not be producing thyroxine.

Babies who do not produce enough thyroxine can have growth problems or disabilities.

Babies born in Ireland with CHT

Around 1 in every 2,300 babies born in Ireland has CHT.

Most cases of CHT happen randomly. Only a very small number of cases are inherited.

How heel prick screening can help

If the heel prick suggests your baby may have CHT, they will be referred to a specialist.

If CHT is confirmed, your baby can get medicine to replace the missing thyroxine.

If treatment starts early, your baby will develop normally. The treatment is usually for life. The dose is adjusted as your baby grows.

Page last reviewed: 12 December 2022
Next review due: 12 December 2025