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Open access

John E M Midgley, Rolf Larisch, Johannes W Dietrich and Rudolf Hoermann

Several influences modulate biochemical responses to a weight-adjusted levothyroxine (l-T4) replacement dose. We conducted a secondary analysis of the relationship of l-T4 dose to TSH and free T3 (FT3), using a prospective observational study examining the interacting equilibria between thyroid parameters. We studied 353 patients on steady-state l-T4 replacement for autoimmune thyroiditis or after surgery for malignant or benign thyroid disease. Peripheral deiodinase activity was calculated as a measure of T4–T3 conversion efficiency. In euthyroid subjects, the median l-T4 dose was 1.3 μg/kg per day (interquartile range (IQR) 0.94,1.60). The dose was independently associated with gender, age, aetiology and deiodinase activity (all P<0.001). Comparable FT3 levels required higher l-T4 doses in the carcinoma group (n=143), even after adjusting for different TSH levels. Euthyroid athyreotic thyroid carcinoma patients (n=50) received 1.57 μg/kg per day l-T4 (IQR 1.40, 1.69), compared to 1.19 μg/kg per day (0.85,1.47) in autoimmune thyroiditis (P<0.01, n=76) and 1.08 μg/kg per day (0.82, 1.44) in patients operated on for benign disease (P< 0.01, n=80). Stratifying patients by deiodinase activity categories of <23, 23–29 and >29 nmol/s revealed an increasing FT3–FT4 dissociation; the poorest converters showed the lowest FT3 levels in spite of the highest dose and circulating FT4 (P<0.001). An l-T4-related FT3–TSH disjoint was also apparent; some patients with fully suppressed TSH failed to raise FT3 above the median level. These findings imply that thyroid hormone conversion efficiency is an important modulator of the biochemical response to l-T4; FT3 measurement may be an additional treatment target; and l-T4 dose escalation may have limited success to raise FT3 appropriately in some cases.

Open access

Peter D Mark, Mikkel Andreassen, Claus L Petersen, Andreas Kjaer and Jens Faber

Purpose

The aim of this study was to investigate structure and function of the heart in subclinical hyperthyroidism (SH) before and after obtaining euthyroidism by radioactive iodine treatment, using high precision and observer-independent magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technology.

Methods

Cardiac MRI was performed before and after euthyroidism was obtained by radioactive iodine treatment in 12 otherwise healthy patients (11 women and one man, mean age 59 years, range 44–71 years) with a nodular goiter and SH, and compared with eight healthy controls investigated at baseline. Cardiac data were expressed as an index, as per body surface area, except for heart rate (HR) and ejection fraction.

Results

Post-treatment cardiac MRI was performed in median 139 days after a normalized serum TSH value had been recorded. During treatment, serum TSH increased from (median (range)) 0.01 (0.01–0.09) to 0.88 (0.27–3.99) mU/l. Patients with untreated SH had increased resting HR (P<0.01) as well as cardiac index (cardiac output as per body surface area) (P<0.01) compared with controls. Obtaining euthyroidism resulted in a significant decrease in left ventricular mass index (LVMI) of 2.7 g/m2 (P=0.034), in HR of 8 bpm (P=0.001), and in cardiac index of 0.24 l/min per m2 (P=0.017).

Conclusions

Normalization of thyroid function by radioactive iodine treatment of SH resulted in significant reductions in clinically important heart parameters such as LVMI, HR, and cardiac index. SH should be regarded as a condition in which aggressive treatment should be considered to protect cardiac function.

Open access

Jan Calissendorff and Henrik Falhammar

Background

Graves’ disease is a common cause of hyperthyroidism. Three therapies have been used for decades: pharmacologic therapy, surgery and radioiodine. In case of adverse events, especially agranulocytosis or hepatotoxicity, pre-treatment with Lugol’s solution containing iodine/potassium iodide to induce euthyroidism before surgery could be advocated, but this has rarely been reported.

Methods

All patients hospitalised due to uncontrolled hyperthyroidism at the Karolinska University Hospital 2005–2015 and treated with Lugol’s solution were included. All electronic files were carefully reviewed manually, with focus on the cause of treatment and admission, demographic data, and effects of iodine on thyroid hormone levels and pulse frequency.

Results

Twenty-seven patients were included. Lugol’s solution had been chosen due to agranulocytosis in 9 (33%), hepatotoxicity in 2 (7%), other side effects in 11 (41%) and poor adherence to medication in 5 (19%). Levels of free T4, free T3 and heart rate decreased significantly after 5–9 days of iodine therapy (free T4 53–20 pmol/L, P = 0.0002; free T3 20–6.5 pmol/L, P = 0.04; heart rate 87–76 beats/min P = 0.0007), whereas TSH remained unchanged. Side effects were noted in 4 (15%) (rash n = 2, rash and vomiting n = 1, swelling of fingers n = 1). Thyroidectomy was performed in 26 patients (96%) and one was treated with radioiodine; all treatments were without serious complications.

Conclusion

Treatment of uncontrolled hyperthyroidism with Lugol’s solution before definitive treatment is safe and it decreases thyroid hormone levels and heart rate. Side effects were limited. Lugol’s solution could be recommended pre-operatively in Graves’ disease with failed medical treatment, especially if side effects to anti-thyroid drugs have occurred.

Open access

Jeonghoon Ha, Jeongmin Lee, Kwanhoon Jo, Dong-Jun Lim, Moo Il Kang, Bong Yun Cha and Min-Hee Kim

Objective

To investigate the prevalence of subclinical hypothyroidism (SCH) in Korean adults and identify the risk factors for the occurrence of SCH by sex.

Design and methods

This study used data from the Sixth Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (KNHANES VI), a cross-sectional, nationally representative survey, which comprises a health interview survey, a health examination survey and a nutrition survey. To examine SCH, the reference range of thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) was defined using both the range provided by the test kit manufacturer (SCH-M) and a population-based range (SCH-P). We investigated the prevalence of SCH and its risk factors by sex using both reference ranges.

Results

The prevalence of SCH in Koreans according to SCH-M (0.35–5.5 µIU/mL) was 5.6%, and 3.3% with SCH-P (0.62–6.68 µIU/mL). For men, smoking significantly reduced the incidence of SCH, positive anti-thyroid peroxidase antibody (TPOAb) significantly increased the risk of SCH, and in an adjusted model, the risk of SCH in all quartiles increased as the urine iodine creatinine ratio (UICR) quartile increased. For women, positive TPOAb was confirmed as a risk factor for SCH, as was the highest UICR quartile. Furthermore, the odds ratio for SCH in urban vs rural residence was 1.78.

Conclusions

The prevalence rates of SCH were similar to those reported in the literature and previously known risk factors were confirmed using both TSH reference ranges. The notable findings from this study are that the increased risk of SCH with increased iodine intake was more marked in men than in women and that residential area may be a risk factor for SCH in women.

Open access

L E Zijlstra, D M van Velzen, S Simsek, S P Mooijaart, M van Buren, D J Stott, I Ford, J W Jukema and S Trompet

Objective

Thyroid hormones have been implicated to play a role in cardiovascular disease, along with studies linking thyroid hormone to kidney function. The aim of this study is to investigate whether kidney function modifies the association of subclinical thyroid dysfunction and the risk of cardiovascular outcomes.

Methods

In total, 5804 patients were included in the PROspective Study of Pravastatin in the Elderly at Risk (PROSPER). For the current analysis, 426 were excluded because of overt thyroid disease at baseline or 6 months, 266 because of inconsistent thyroid function at baseline and 6 months, 294 because of medication use that could influence thyroid function, and 16 because of missing kidney or thyroid values. Participants with normal fT4 were classified, based on TSH both at inclusion and 6 months, into three groups: subclinical hypothyroidism (TSH >4.5 mIU/L); euthyroidism (TSH = 0.45–4.5 mIU/L); and subclinical hyperthyroidism (TSH <0.45 mIU/L). Strata of kidney function were made based on estimated glomerular filtration rate into three clinically relevant groups: <45, 45–60, and >60 mL/min/1.73 m2. The primary endpoint consists of death from coronary heart disease, non-fatal myocardial infarction and (non)fatal stroke.

Results

Mean age was 75.3 years, and 49.0% patients were male. Mean follow-up was 3.2 years. Of all participants, 109 subjects (2.2%) had subclinical hypothyroidism, 4573 (94.0%) had euthyroidism, and 182 (3.7%) subclinical hyperthyroidism. For patients with subclinical hypothyroidism, euthyroidism, and subclinical hyperthyroidism, primary outcome occurred in 9 (8.3%), 712 (15.6%), and 23 (12.6%) patients, respectively. No statistically significant relationship was found between subclinical thyroid dysfunction and primary endpoint with adjusted hazard ratios of 0.51 (0.24–1.07) comparing subclinical hyperthyroidism and 0.90 (0.58–1.39) comparing subclinical hypothyroidism with euthyroidism. Neither was this relationship present in any of the strata of kidney function, nor did kidney function interact with subclinical thyroid dysfunction in the association with primary endpoint (P interaction = 0.602 for subclinical hyperthyroidism and 0.388 for subclinical hypothyroidism).

Conclusions

In this secondary analysis from PROSPER, we found no evidence that the potential association between thyroid hormones and cardiovascular disease is modified by kidney function in older patients with subclinical thyroid dysfunction.

Open access

Dorte Glintborg, Katrine Hass Rubin, Mads Nybo, Bo Abrahamsen and Marianne Andersen

Aim

To investigate risk of thyroid disease in Danish women with PCOS.

Design

National register-based study on women with PCOS in Denmark. 18,476 women had a diagnosis of PCOS in the Danish National Patient Register. PCOS Odense University Hospital (PCOS OUH, n = 1146) was an embedded cohort of women with PCOS and clinical and biochemical examination. Three age-matched controls were included for each woman with PCOS (n = 54,757). The main outcome measures were thyroid disease (hypothyroidism, Graves’ disease, goiter, thyroiditis) according to hospital diagnosis codes and/or inferred from filled medicine prescriptions. Associations between baseline TSH and development of cardio-metabolic disease was examined in PCOS OUH.

Results

The median (quartiles) age at inclusion was 29 (23–35) years and follow-up duration was 11.1 (6.9–16.0) years. The hazard ratio (95% CI) for thyroid disease development was 2.5 (2.3–2.7) (P < 0.001). The event rate of thyroid disease was 6.0 per 1000 patient-years in PCOS Denmark versus 2.4 per 1000 patient-years in controls (P < 0.001). Women in PCOS OUH with TSH ≥2.5 mIU/L (n = 133) had higher BMI (median 29 vs 27 kg/m2), wider waist, higher triglycerides and free testosterone by the time of PCOS diagnosis compared to women in PCOS OUH with TSH <2.5 mIU/L (n = 588). Baseline TSH did not predict later development of cardio-metabolic diseases in PCOS OUH.

Conclusions

The event rate of thyroid disease was significantly and substantially higher in women with PCOS compared to controls.

Open access

Chunyun Fu, Shiyu Luo, Yingfeng Li, Qifei Li, Xuehua Hu, Mengting Li, Yue Zhang, Jiasun Su, Xuyun Hu, Yun Chen, Jin Wang, Bobo Xie, Jingsi Luo, Xin Fan, Shaoke Chen and Yiping Shen

Background

The incidence of congenital hypothyroidism (CH) differs significantly among different ethnicities and regions, and early differentiation of transient CH is important to avoid unnecessary prolonged treatment with L-T4.

Objective

To investigate the incidence of CH based on the newborn screening program in Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, China, and to analyze the predictors that might allow for an early differentiation between permanent (P) and transient (T) CH.

Design and methods

Data from newborn screening program over a seven-year period (January 2009 to January 2016) at Guangxi Maternal and Child Health Hospital are analyzed. Blood samples were collected on filter paper between 3 and 7 days after birth, and TSH level was measured by time-resolved fluorescence assay. Individuals with increased TSH (TSH ≥ 8 IU/L) levels detected by newborn screening were recalled for further evaluation. Serum TSH, FT3 and FT4 were determined by electrochemiluminescence assay using venous blood samples. Diagnosis of CH is based on elevated TSH levels (>10 IU/L) and decreased FT4 levels (<12 pmol/L). Patients with elevated TSH levels and normal FT4 levels were diagnosed as hyperthyrotropinemia. Permanent or transient CH was determined by using the results of thyroid function tests after temporary withdrawal of L-T4 therapy at approximately 2–3 years of age.

Results

Among 1,238,340 infants in the newborn screening program, 14,443 individuals were recalled for reevaluation (re-call rate 1.18%), 911 and 731 individuals were subsequently determined to have hyperthyrotropinemia and CH respectively; thus, a prevalence of 1:1359 and 1:1694 for hyperthyrotropinemia and CH. Of the 731 patients with CH, 161 patients were diagnosed with permanent CH (PCH), and 159 patients were diagnosed with transient CH (TCH), the other 411 patients are too young to determine their subtypes. Patients with PCH required an increasing dose of L-T4 during the first few years, whereas patients with TCH required a decreased dose of L-T4. The TSH levels at diagnosis and the dose of L-T4 used were significantly higher in PCH cases than in transient cases. The FT4 levels at diagnosis were significantly lower in PCH cases than in TCH cases. The TSH levels at diagnosis, FT4 levels at diagnosis and L-T4 doses at 90 days were evaluated as predictors for differentiating PCH and TCH, and their accuracy at their respective optimal cutoffs were determined to be 60.6%, 66.7% and 93.9%, respectively.

Conclusions

The CH incidence in Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region is slightly higher (1:1694) compared to the worldwide levels (1/2000–1/4000). The PCH and TCH ratio is close to 1; thus, the estimated PCH incidence is 1/3388, which is similar to reported worldwide average incidence (1/3000). The L-T4 dose required at 90 days (>30 μg/day) has the highest predictive value for PCH. Earlier differentiation of PCH and TCH helps to determine appropriate treatment course.

Open access

Isabel M Abreu, Eva Lau, Bernardo de Sousa Pinto and Davide Carvalho

Previous studies suggested that subclinical hypothyroidism has a detrimental effect on cardiovascular risk factors, and that its effective treatment may have a beneficial impact on overall health. The main purpose of this review and meta-analysis was to assess whether subclinical hypothyroidism treatment is of clinical relevance, based on cardiovascular risk parameters correction. A systemic research of the literature using MEDLINE tool was performed to identify the relevant studies. Only placebo-controlled randomized control trials were included. A quantitative analysis was also performed. This systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized placebo-controlled trials assess the different impact of levothyroxine vs placebo treatment. A significant decrease in serum thyroid-stimulating hormone and total and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol was obtained with levothyroxine therapy (66, 9 and 14%, respectively) and, although modest, this could be significant in terms of reduction of the incidence of coronary artery disease. Other significant results of lipid parameters were not obtained. This systematic review provides a strong evidence-based data in favour of specific changes and beneficial effects of levothyroxine treatment.

Open access

Natalie Su-Jing Yap, Richard Maher and Diana Louise Learoyd

The sensitivity of local recurrence detection in differentiated thyroid cancer (DTC) is increased by measuring thyroglobulin in needle washouts from lymph node fine-needle aspiration biopsies (FNA-Tg). Recent studies have proposed minimum diagnostic threshold values for FNA-Tg and have reported interference from Tg antibodies (Tg Ab), leading to low or false-negative results. The aim of this study was to assess the utility of FNA-Tg in the diagnosis of local DTC recurrence in patients referred to a single pathology service used by our tertiary teaching hospital, the first such study in an Australian cohort. Data were collected from the pathology service database for FNA-Tg over an 18-month period, and the results of 69 FNA-Tg samples from 57 patients were obtained. FNA-Tg findings were compared with cytology and histology when patients proceeded to surgery. Using the functional sensitivity as the cut-off, detectable FNA-Tg (≥0.9 μg/l) had a sensitivity of 95.7%, specificity of 50% and positive predictive value of 95.7%. Our results suggest that detectable FNA-Tg leads to histological confirmation of local nodal DTC recurrence and would support a decision to proceed to surgery. Serum Tg Ab can, however, interfere with FNA-Tg measurements. Thus, we now recommend routine use of FNA-Tg washouts in all lymph node FNA biopsies for the detection of DTC recurrence.

Open access

Yun Hu, Na Li, Peng Jiang, Liang Cheng, Bo Ding, Xiao-Mei Liu, Ke He, Yun-Qing Zhu, Bing-li Liu, Xin Cao, Hong Zhou and Xiao-Ming Mao

Objective

Thyroid nodules are usually accompanied by elevated thyroglobulin (Tg) level and autoimmune thyroid diseases (AITDs). However, the relationship between Tg and AITDs is not fully understood. Dysfunction of regulatory T cells (Tregs) plays an important role in the development of AITDs. We aimed to evaluate the effects of Tg on the function of Tregs in patients with thyroid nodules.

Methods

Tg levels and the functions of Tregs in peripheral blood and thyroid tissues of patients with thyroid nodules from Nanjing First Hospital were evaluated. The effects of Tg on the function of Tregs from healthy donors were also assessed in vitro. The function of Tregs was defined as an inhibitory effect of Tregs on the effector T cell (CD4+ CD25 T cell) proliferation rate.

Results

The level of Tg in peripheral blood correlated negatively with the inhibitory function of Tregs (R = 0.398, P = 0.03), and Tregs function declined significantly in the high Tg group (Tg >77 μg/L) compared with the normal Tg group (11.4 ± 3.9% vs 27.5 ± 3.5%, P < 0.05). Compared with peripheral blood, the function of Tregs in thyroid declined significantly (P < 0.01), but the proportion of FOXP3+ Tregs in thyroid increased (P < 0.01). High concentration of Tg (100 μg/mL) inhibited the function of Tregs and downregulated FOXP3, TGF-β and IL-10 mRNA expression in Tregs in vitro.

Conclusions

Elevated Tg level could impair the function of Tregs, which might increase the risk of AITDs in patient with thyroid nodules.