Home | About us | Editorial board | Search | Ahead of print | Current issue | Archives | Submit article | Instructions | Subscribe | Contacts | Advertise | Login 
Search Article 
Advanced search 
  Users Online: 2152 Home Print this page Email this page Small font sizeDefault font sizeIncrease font size  

Table of Contents
Year : 2018  |  Volume : 22  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 5-6

Normative Trimester-Specific Thyroid Function Data from India: The State of the Nation

1 Department of Endocrinology, Mazumdar Shaw Medical Centre, Narayana Health, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India
2 Department of Endocrinology, Bharti Hospital, Karnal, Haryana, India

Date of Web Publication8-Feb-2018

Correspondence Address:
Sanjay Kalra
Bharti Hospital, Karnal, Haryana
Login to access the Email id

Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijem.IJEM_596_17

Rights and Permissions

Background: International guidelines recommend using local trimester-specific normative data for TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone). However, there are no unified Indian data for the same. Material and Methods: This review collates recently published data from various Indian centres and discusses the state of trimester-specific TSH ranges in the country. Results: The authors describe the strengths and limitations of available data, and support the need for pan-India data. Conclusion: To ensure effective screening and action, harmonized research is necessary to establish national normative data for TSH in India.

Keywords: Hashimoto's thyroiditis, hypothyroidism, India, TSH assay

How to cite this article:
Kannan S, Kalra S. Normative Trimester-Specific Thyroid Function Data from India: The State of the Nation. Indian J Endocr Metab 2018;22:5-6

How to cite this URL:
Kannan S, Kalra S. Normative Trimester-Specific Thyroid Function Data from India: The State of the Nation. Indian J Endocr Metab [serial online] 2018 [cited 2021 Sep 22];22:5-6. Available from: https://www.ijem.in/text.asp?2018/22/1/5/225011

   Ethno-Specific Endocrinology Top

Endocrinology has progressed rapidly in India over the past few decades.[1] In tandem with advances made by colleagues across the world, Indian researchers and clinicians have fine-tuned the screening, diagnosis, and management of endocrine dysfunction. One major area of research has the establishment of ethno-specific guidelines in diabetology and obesity.[2],[3]

   Trimester-Specific Thyroid Function Interpretation Top

In thyroidology, too, there is a need for local evidence to create population-based normative data for thyroid function tests.[4] This is especially true for trimester-specific reference ranges of thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), as management of thyroid dysfunction is dependent on these values. Maintenance of euthyroidism during pregnancy improves not only maternal and fetal health but also neonatal and long-term offspring health.[5] At the same time, one must guard against unwarranted pharmacological therapy in “nonhypothyroid” pregnant women, keeping the philosophy of quaternary prevention in mind.[6]

   Data from India Top

Over the past two decades, various Indian endocrine and obstetric units have published center-based trimester-specific data for thyroid function tests. Their aim has been to create normative ranges which are of relevance to the entire country and perhaps subcontinent. However, the wide variation in research methodology, research tools, statistical analysis, and publication strategy has meant that these efforts have not gained their due recognition.

   Joining the Dots Top

In this issue of the Indian Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism (IJEM), Kannan et al.[7] and Kalra et al.[8] set out to correct this anomaly. Using a systematic and structured approach, Kannan et al. identify 56 studies and select eight of them to describe normative thyroid function tests in Indian cohorts of antenatal women. Kalra et al. limit their analysis to six studies which used modern immunoassays to measure TSH. Both authors emphasize the need for India-specific trimester-based normative data. While appreciating the diligence of pioneer workers,[9] they point out that outcome-based studies and harmonization of assays/research methodology are needed to confirm accurate trimester-specific thyroid function ranges.

   United in Diversity Top

Kannan et al. underscore the relatively high upper range of normal limits of TSH in most Indian studies. The 95th percentile for TSH in third trimester, for example, is 1.93 mIU/ml in Manipur, 4.64 mIU/ml in Haryana, 4.60 mIU/ml in West Bengal, and 5.70 mIU/ml in New Delhi.[9],[10],[11],[12] Kannan et al. point out that Marwaha et al.'s study from New Delhi [9] has been conducted with robust methodology, employing comprehensive clinical, immunological, and ultrasonographic inclusion/exclusion criteria. It is noteworthy, therefore that the upper range of TSH in this study extends to 10.8 mlU/ml in the first, 10.85 mlU/ml in the second, and 9.55 mlU/ml in the third trimester.[9] At the opposite end of the spectrum is data from Manipur which reports 95th percentile values of 1.82, 1071, and 1.73 mlU/ml of TSH in the first, second, and third trimesters, respectively.[10] Kalra et al. acknowledge the opinion of Jebasingh et al., who remind us of the multiethnic nature of India [10] and the need to respect this while formulating national guidance.

The heterogeneity in the data published from India is reflected in the recommendations proposed by the IJEM reviews. Kannan et al.[7] suggest a diagnostic threshold of TSH 4.5–5 mlU/L, which is similar to that of nonpregnant states. They suggest that the therapeutic threshold in pregnancy is based on antibody status. While antenatal women with positive thyroid antibodies should be treated if TSH is ≥3 mlU/l, the therapeutic threshold can be raised to 5 mlU/l in antibody-negative women. Kalra et al. propose a more conventional approach, preferring to concur with existing international guidelines.

   The Road Ahead Top

This heterogeneity, however, should not distract us from the main message of this editorial. These analyses are a step forward in improving thyroid care for the 24 million Indian women who become antenatal every year.

We need universal screening for thyroid dysfunction in pregnancy in India. Screening is of no value if it is not followed by appropriate clinical action. To ensure that clinical intervention is correct, it must be based on well-defined parameters. These parameters must be relevant to the population being treated. To ensure this, we need robust, harmonized research to establish normative trimester-specific data for thyroid function tests in India.

We appreciate the work of pioneering seniors and colleagues and call for these efforts to be duplicated, in a harmonized manner, across the country.

   References Top

Bajaj S, Ghosh S, Kalra S. Endocrinology training in India. Indian J Endocrinol Metab 2015;19:448-50.  Back to cited text no. 1
Misra A, Vikram NK, Gupta R, Pandey RM, Wasir JS, Gupta VP, et al. Waist circumference cutoff points and action levels for Asian Indians for identification of abdominal obesity. Int J Obes (Lond) 2006;30:106-11.  Back to cited text no. 2
Kalra S, Thai HQ, Deerochanawong C, Su-Yen G, Mohamed M, Latt TS, et al. Choice of insulin in type 2 diabetes: A Southeast Asian perspective. Indian J Endocrinol Metab 2017;21:478-81.  Back to cited text no. 3
Alexander EK, Pearce EN, Brent GA, Brown RS, Chen H, Dosiou C, et al. 2017 guidelines of the American thyroid association for the diagnosis and management of thyroid disease during pregnancy and the postpartum. Thyroid 2017;27:315-89.  Back to cited text no. 4
Sahay R, Kalra S, Magon N. Ensuring an intelligent India: Managing hypothyroidism in pregnancy. Indian J Endocrinol Metab 2011;15:S76-7.  Back to cited text no. 5
Kalra S, Baruah MP, Sahay R. Quaternary prevention in thyroidology. Thyroid Res Pract 2014;11:43.  Back to cited text no. 6
Kannan S, Mahadevan S, Sigamani A. A systematic review on normative values of trimester-specific thyroid function tests in Indian women. Indian J Endocr Metab 2017. DOI: 10.4103/ijem.IJEM_211_17  Back to cited text no. 7
Kalra S, Agarwal S, Aggarwal R, Ranabir S. Trimester-specific thyroid-stimulating hormone: An Indian perspective. Indian J Endocr Metab 2018;22:1-4.  Back to cited text no. 8
  [Full text]  
Marwaha RK, Chopra S, Gopalakrishnan S, Sharma B, Kanwar RS, Sastry A, et al. Establishment of reference range for thyroid hormones in normal pregnant Indian women. BJOG 2008;115:602-6.  Back to cited text no. 9
Jebasingh FK, Salam R, Meetei TL, Singh PT, Singh NN, Prasad L, et al. Reference intervals in evaluation of maternal thyroid function of Manipuri women. Indian J Endocrinol Metab 2016;20:167-70.  Back to cited text no. 10
Rajput R, Singh B, Goel V, Verma A, Seth S, Nanda S, et al. Trimester-specific reference interval for thyroid hormones during pregnancy at a tertiary care hospital in Haryana, India. Indian J Endocrinol Metab 2016;20:810-5.  Back to cited text no. 11
Maji R, Nath S, Lahiri S, Saha Das M, Bhattacharyya AR, Das HN, et al. Establishment of trimester-specific reference intervals of serum TSH & fT4 in a pregnant Indian population at North Kolkata. Indian J Clin Biochem 2014;29:167-73.  Back to cited text no. 12


    Similar in PUBMED
   Search Pubmed for
   Search in Google Scholar for
 Related articles
    Access Statistics
    Email Alert *
    Add to My List *
* Registration required (free)  

   Abstract Ethno-Specific E... Trimester-Specif... Data from India Joining the Dots United in Diversity The Road Ahead
  In this article

 Article Access Statistics
    PDF Downloaded470    
    Comments [Add]    

Recommend this journal