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Am J Med. 1990 Jun;88(6):631-7.

Thyroid hormone and the cardiovascular system.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, North Shore University Hospital, Cornell University Medical College, Manhasset, New York 11030.


To understand the pathophysiology of thyroid heart disease, it is necessary to recognize that thyroid hormone has effects on both the peripheral circulation and the myocardium. One of the earliest responses to thyroid hormone administration is a decline in systemic vascular resistance and an increase in cardiac output and cardiac contractility. In many ways, this response is similar to the cardiovascular response to exercise and is associated with increased left ventricular work. The majority of cardiac adaptations to changes in thyroid function are physiologic; however, certain patients do demonstrate clinical evidence of cardiac disease. Atrial arrhythmias, limitations in exercise tolerance, and congestive heart failure are reported to occur as a result of hyperthyroidism and are more common in older patients. Thyroid hormone also plays an important role in the regulation of blood pressure. Diastolic hypertension is a common accompaniment of hypothyroidism. By understanding the mechanisms by which thyroid hormone affects both the peripheral circulation as well as the myocardium, it is possible to predict the clinical response to the treatment of various thyroid disease states.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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