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ATA: More Education Needed on Thyroid Disease in Pregnancy

Physicians wrong on more than one-third of survey questions about pregnancy and thyroid problems

FRIDAY, Oct. 13 (HealthDay News) -- Physicians incorrectly answered more than one-third of survey questions about thyroid disease and pregnancy, suggesting that those treating pregnant women with thyroid ailments need refresher courses, according to research presented this week at the 77th annual meeting of the American Thyroid Association in Phoenix.

Alex S. Stagnaro-Green, M.D., of the New Jersey Medical School in Newark, N.J., and a colleague gave 403 physicians a 16-item questionnaire on the effect of thyroid anomalies on pregnant women and their unborn children. Anomalies included hypothyroidism, Graves' disease, thyroid antibodies and thyroiditis.

The researchers found that physicians correctly answered a mean of 63 percent of questions. The highest scorers were endocrinologists; obstetricians/gynecologists were next. Family physicians and internists scored last. While physician gender was not related to the overall score, medical specialty, training experience, confidence level and whether the physician treated women with thyroid disease and pregnancy independently and significantly affected scores.

"Although clinicians answered 63 percent of the questions correctly, more than one-third of the questions were answered incorrectly," the authors write. "Significant differences were found in the level of knowledge between the various medical disciplines. The present survey highlights the need for focused education for clinicians involved in the management of pregnant women with thyroid disease."

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