We examined the patterns of TSH, T4, and treatment schedules from diagnosis to 4 yr of age in 125 children (50 males anf 75 females) with congenital hypothyroidism (CH). Subjects were divided into 3 groups based on their thyroid scans: 1) athyreosis (n = 31), 2) dysgenesis (n = 54; 49 lingual and 5 hypoplastic), and 3) dyshormonogenesis (n = 40). Follow-up evaluation was carried out at 2-4 wk and 3, 6, 9, 12, 24, 36, and 48 months of age. Median gestational age, age at onset of therapy, and starting L-T4 dose were similar in the three groups. In infants with athyreosis median screening TSH levels were higher (P < 0.02) and confirmatory T4 levels were lower than in the other two groups (P < 0.01 vs. dysgenetic; P < 0.05 vs. dyshormonogenetic CH). During the first 6 months of therapy, mean TSH levels were highest in the athyrotic group, intermediate in the dysgenetic group, and lowest in the dyshormonogenetic group. In children with athyreosis, TSH levels normalized by 12 months of age. At 12 months dysgenetic patients had the highest TSH levels (P < 0.05). During the entire study period, TSH levels were lowest in patients with dyshormonogenesis (except at 48 months) and normalized earlier. Mean T4 levels normalized by 2-4 weeks in all groups. At 3 and 6 months, the percentage of patients who required dose changes was highest in the athyrotic group, and at 12 months it was highest in the dysgenetic group. The athyrotic group received the highest dose of L-T4, and dyshormonogenetic group received the lowest dose. We conclude that treatment and follow-up schedules for CH may differ in the three etiological categories based on the different hormonal patterns and responses to therapy. Children with athyreosis need close monitoring particularly early in life, whereas those with dysgenesis and dyshormonogenesis require more attention later in life.