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Ann Saudi Med. 2004 Jan-Feb;24(1):13-7.

Iodine repletion, thyrotoxicosis and atrial fibrillation in Isfahan, Iran.

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Isfahan Endocrine and Metabolism Research Center, Department of Internal Medicine, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran.



Iodized salt was reintroduced in Iran in 1989. Just before distribution of iodized salt, thyrotoxicosis was observed in 3.7% of the patients with atrial fibrillation (AF) in university teaching hospitals in Isfahan, a centrally located city in Iran. As repletion of iodine may increase the rate of autoimmune thyroid diseases and toxic multinodular goiter, this study was designed to evaluate the rate of thyrotoxicosis in patients with AF in the same hospitals after about a decade of iodized salt consumption.


In a case-control study with convenience sampling, 100 patients with AF and an equal number of age- and sex-matched subjects taking the same medications were selected as case and control groups, respectively, in university hospitals in 1997.


Eight percent of patients with atrial fibrillation had overt thyrotoxicosis versus one percent in the control group (odds ratio=8.6, 95% CI = 6.5 to 10.7, P<0.02). Thyrotoxicosis in patients with AF was 8 times higher than in the control group without AF. In comparison with the period before use of iodized salt, AF more than doubled (8% vs. 3.7%).


Thyroid function should be evaluated in all patients older than 40 years of age with AF. The benefits of iodine supplementation are great, but more attention should be paid to the complications of iodine repletion, including thyrotoxicosis and its frequent accompaniment, AF.

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