Previous studies have shown hypothyroidism was independently associated with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) in adults, but few studies examined their relationships in pediatric populations. This study aimed to investigate the prevalence of NAFLD in pediatric congenital hypothyroidism (CHT) patients and to identify the association between CHT and NAFLD. This study enrolled pediatric CHT patients receiving levothyroxine treatment at one medical center from 2013 to 2014. Euthyroid subjects (ET) and transient hypothyroidism (THT) patients weaned off medication successfully after age 3 were selected for further comparison. Laboratory data including thyroid functions, liver functions, and metabolic profiles were obtained. The major outcome was the occurrence of NAFLD, diagnosed based on the findings of abdominal ultrasonography. One-hundred and twenty-nine subjects (47 in CHT, 47 in THT, and 35 in ET groups) were enrolled. The analysis showed higher fasting serum glucose, insulin, thyroxine (T4), and mean thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) levels in the CHT group. NAFLD prevalence was higher in the CHT (23.4%) group than in the THT (8.5%) and the ET (5.7%) groups, demonstrating an increasing trend across three strata (X2 linear-by-linear = 5.9, P <.05). The multivariate regression analysis showed obesity (β-coefficient = 5.52, P <.05), CHT (β-coefficient = 2.92, P <.05) and mean TSH levels (β-coefficient = 0.24, P <.05) were independent risk factors for NAFLD. A positive correlation was found between TSH level and lipid profiles. CHT patients had higher risk of NAFLD despite treatment being initiated early in life. Close monitoring of metabolic profiles is warranted. Further research should examine ways to optimize the treatment for CHT patients in terms of prevention against NAFLD.
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