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Am J Med. 2005 Apr;118(4):349-61.

A clinical and therapeutic approach to thyrotoxicosis with thyroid-stimulating hormone suppression only.

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Department of Internal Medicine, Endocrinology Unit, ASL Modena, Italy.

Erratum in

  • Am J Med. 2005 Aug;118(8):933. Papi, Giovanni [corrected to Papi, Giampaolo].


Subclinical hyperthyroidism is defined as normal serum free thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3) concentrations and persistently suppressed thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) concentrations. The most common cause of subclinical hyperthyroidism is the use of suppressive doses of L-thyroxine for treatment of hypothyroidism or, less commonly, diffuse nontoxic goiter or thyroid carcinoma (exogenous subclinical hyperthyroidism). Endogenous subclinical hyperthyroidism may be caused by a variety of thyroid disorders that result in overproduction and release of thyroid hormones from the gland with normal/high 24-hour thyroid radioiodine uptake or by inflammation in the thyroid resulting in release of excess thyroid hormones and low 24-hour thyroid radioiodine uptake. Several groups have investigated whether persistent endogenous or exogenous subclinical hyperthyroidism, like overt hyperthyroidism, causes symptoms, adverse effects on the cardiovascular and the skeletal systems, and increased mortality, whether endogenous subclinical hyperthyroidism evolves to overt thyrotoxicosis, and whether or not it should be treated. The present report reviews the most important and recent studies of subclinical hyperthyroidism and attempts to draw conclusions based upon the literature and the authors' experience.

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