Background: The newborn screening (NBS) program for congenital hypothyroidism (CH) was launched on a national scale in Iran since 2005; we evaluated the program in 15 provinces, from 2011 to 2014.
Methods: Fifteen provinces, including 17 districts, were included in the study. Aggregated data of screening, diagnosis, and management of all neonates born in each district in 2011 were retrospectively gathered and collectively analyzed.
Results: Program coverage ranged from 77 to 100% in different districts. The positive predictive value was low and widely ranged from 1.3 to 15.5. Transient congenital hypothyroidism (TCH) distribution values were over 5 mU/L in more than 3% of the population and were reported in 9 out of 17 districts. Repeated screening test due to inappropriate sampling varied from 0.9% in Lorestan to 36% in Zabol. Recall rate varied from 0.16 in Ardebil to 1.58 in Zanjan. CH incidence was high, with the highest value being observed in Zanjan (1:241 newborns). Screening age at 3–5 days from birth were highly observed in Gonabad (95.2%) and Zanjan (94.5%), with the lowest values observed in Giroft, Zabol, Kerman and Tehran. CH treatment was initiated before 40 days of age in 90.6% of cases. Survival time for TSH normalization event varied among the districts from 25 to 163 days. After withholding treatment at 3 years of age, TCH was identified in 30%–60% of hypothyroid cases.
Conclusion: Main indicators of the screening program have reached the optimal goals defined by the Ministry of Health and Medical Education. However, high false positive rate and non-optimal neonatal TSH distribution values necessitate readdressing these challenging issues.