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J Endocrinol Invest. 2005 Nov;28(10):876-81.

High iodine intake is a risk factor of post-partum thyroiditis: result of a survey from Shenyang, China.

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Department of Endocrinology, the First Hospital Affiliated to China Medical University, Shenyang, Liaoning Province, P.R. China.


The aim of the present study is to obtain the epidemiological data on post-partum thyroiditis (PPT) firstly in Chinese women, and to tryto evaluate whether excessive intake of iodine in post-partum women imposes any danger of occurring PPT. Sixty hundred and ten pregnant women were involved in the cohort just before delivery. Four hundred and eighty-eight (80%) of them accepted taking part in follow-ups more than 6 months post-partum. A blood sample was taken from participants before delivery and every 3 months post-partum for testing of serum TSH, thyroid autoantibodies. Free T3 (FT3), free T4 (FT4) and TSH receptor antibody (TRAb) were detected if TSH was abnormal. The iodine nutrition was evaluated according to the mean level of the fasting urinary iodine excretions at different times during the studying period, and participants were subgrouped into 3 categories with low, adequate and high iodine intake. For those participants who had thyroid dysfunction within 6 months post-partum, the follow-up persisted for 1 yr. Of 488 pregnant women, PPT developed in 11.9% (58/488). Given overt and subclinical PPT, the prevalence was 7.17% (no.=35) and 4.71% (no.=23), respectively. There was a strong association between the presence of thyroid peroxidase antibody (TPOAb) at delivery and the risk of developing PPT [RR=6.76, 95% (CI) 4.42-10.34]. Overt cases had much higher titers of TPOAb than subclinical patients (all p<0.05). The median urinary iodine (MUI) of patients with PPT was significantly higher than that of healthy women (231.93 vs 199.88 microg/l p=0.00153). Both the prevalence of PPT and positive TPOAb rise with the increment of iodine intakes. Pregnant women with high iodine intake had more risk of developing PPT when compared with those with low iodine intake (RR=2.92, 95%CI 1.31-6.50). We concluded that positive TPOAb was of value for predicting the occurrence and severity of PPT, and a high iodine intake was a risk factor triggering PPT.

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