Registers of diagnoses and treatments exist in different forms in the European countries and are potential sources to answer important research questions. Prevalence and incidence of thyroid diseases are highly dependent on iodine intake and, thus, iodine deficiency disease prevention programs. We aimed to collect European register data on thyroid outcomes to compare the rates between countries/regions with different iodine status and prevention programs.
Register-based cross-sectional study.
National register data on thyroid diagnoses and treatments were requested from 23 European countries/regions. The provided data were critically assessed for suitability for comparison between countries/regions. Sex- and age-standardized rates were calculated.
Register data on ≥1 thyroid diagnoses or treatments were available from 22 countries/regions. After critical assessment, data on medication, surgery, and cancer were found suitable for comparison between 9, 10, and 13 countries/regions, respectively. Higher rates of antithyroid medication and thyroid surgery for benign disease and lower rates of thyroid hormone therapy were found for countries with iodine insufficiency before approx. 2001, and no relationship was observed with recent iodine intake or prevention programs.
The collation of register data on thyroid outcomes from European countries is impeded by a high degree of heterogeneity in the availability and quality of data between countries. Nevertheless, a relationship between historic iodine intake and rates of treatments for hyper- and hypothyroid disorders is indicated. This study illustrates both the challenges and the potential for the application of register data of thyroid outcomes across Europe.