Although several reports have defined normal thyroid volume depending on either age or body surface, there are no sequential reference values on childhood thyroid volume evaluated by using ultrasonography and epidemiological analysis in Japan. The aim of the present study was to establish updated reference values for thyroid volume by ultrasound examination and epidemiological analysis in 0-19 year-old Japanese children. It is based on a cross-sectional study conducted from October 9, 2011 to March 31, 2012. The subjects were 38,063 children who were examined by ultrasonography as the initial preliminary survey of the Fukushima Health Management Survey in October 9, 2011 to March 31, 2012. The width, thickness, and height of each lobe were measured and the volume of each lobe was calculated by the mean of the elliptical shape volume formula. The values of thyroid volume at the 2.5 and 97.5 percentiles of age and body surface area for each gender group were obtained from 0-19 year-old children. Positive correlation was observed between thyroid volume and either age or body surface. The right lobe was significantly larger than the left lobe. The thyroid volume in females was larger than that in males after adjusting body surface area. The reference values of childhood thyroid for each age or body surface area were obtained by this extensive survey using ultrasound. These reference values may be used to define the normal size of thyroid gland by echosonography in Japanese children, although thyroid volume may be affected by dimorphic factors such as sex hormones.
The Japan Endocrine Society