Enhancement of fetal lung maturity by intra-amniotic administration of thyroid hormone

S. Mashiach, G. Barkai, J. Sack, E. Stern, B. Goldman, M. Brish, D. M. Serr

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Following preliminary results in animal studies demonstrating that thyroxine (T 4) injected directly into the fetus or the amniotic sac is capable of enhancing fetal lung maturity, a trial of thyroxine treatment in man was carried out. Two hundred micrograms of T 4 were injected intra-amniotically in eight women with high-risk pregnancies in which premature delivery was inevitable or indicated. Fetal lung maturity was evaluated by a recently developed, accurate, and rapid method using the microviscosity value ε (this being the linear expression of the polarization value P) of the lipid assembly of the amniotic fluid as a parameter of the surfactant content. ε Values, which were very high before T 4 injection, dropped steeply to below the value of 4.344, indicating fetal lung maturity. Eight newborn infants delivered, five by caesarean section, soon after the T 4 injection did not develop respiratory distress syndrome, although they were born prematurely. Intra-amniotic injection of T 4 appears to be of therapeutic value in enhancing fetal lung maturity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)289-293
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1978


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