Thyroid dysgenesis is one of the most common causes of permanent congenital hypothyroidism. Thyroid ultrasonography or scan is used to detect thyroid dysgenesis. We analyzed the sensitivity and specificity of thyroid ultrasonography and scan in diagnosing thyroid dysgenesis to determine the clinical utility of each thyroid imaging method.
Sixty-one patients younger than 7 years of age were investigated via thyroid scan. Nineteen patients who were initially interpreted as having thyroid dysgenesis, such as ectopia, hemiagenesis, or aplasia, by thyroid scan were included in the study. Clinical characteristics and findings of a thyroid imaging study were reviewed.
Initially, thyroid scan results were interpreted as ectopia (n=9), hemiagenesis (n=1), and nonvisualization (n=9). In contrast, the results of thyroid ultrasonography were normal thyroid gland (n=5), ectopia (n=6), and hypoplasia (n=8). After reviewing the results of both studies, final imaging diagnoses were as follows: normal thyroid gland (n=5), hemiagenesis (n=1), ectopia (n=9) including 2 dual ectopy, hypoplasia (n=3), and aplasia (n=1). Thyroid ultrasonography showed higher sensitivity and specificity in detecting presence of normal thyroid gland. Thyroid scan was better to detect ectopia. Among 8 patients who were initially interpreted as having hypoplasia by ultrasonography, 4 were confirmed as ectopia and one as aplasia.
This study showed that thyroid ultrasonography is useful as the first-line imaging study to detect normal-sized eutopic thyroid gland. Thyroid scan should be performed to investigate the presence of ectopia if hypoplasia or aplasia is suspected by ultrasonography.