Format

Send to

Choose Destination
J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2012 Jun;97(6):1962-9. doi: 10.1210/jc.2011-3047. Epub 2012 Mar 21.

The natural history of subclinical hypothyroidism in the elderly: the cardiovascular health study.

Author information

1
Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Metabolism, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104-5160, USA.

Abstract

CONTEXT:

Studies of long-term outcomes of subclinical hypothyroidism have assessed only baseline thyroid function, despite natural transitions to euthyroidism and overt hypothyroidism over time.

OBJECTIVE:

We provide estimates of persistence, resolution, and progression of subclinical hypothyroidism over 4 yr, stratified by baseline TSH, anti-thyroid peroxidase antibody (TPOAb) status, age, and sex.

DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS:

Participants were 3996 U.S. individuals at least 65 yr old enrolled in the Cardiovascular Health Study. Subclinical hypothyroidism was detected at baseline in 459 individuals not taking thyroid medication.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE:

Thyroid function was evaluated at 2 and 4 yr and initiation of thyroid medication annually. Results were stratified by baseline TSH, TPOAb status, age, and sex.

RESULTS:

Persistence of subclinical hypothyroidism was 56% at 2 and 4 yr. At 2 yr, resolution was more common with a TSH of 4.5-6.9 mU/liter (46 vs. 10% with TSH 7-9.9 mU/liter and 7% with TSH ≥10 mU/liter; P < 0.001) and with TPOAb negativity (48 vs. 15% for positive; P < 0.001). Higher TSH and TPOAb positivity were independently associated with lower likelihood of reversion to euthyroidism (P < 0.05). TSH of 10 mU/liter or higher was independently associated with progression to overt hypothyroidism (P < 0.05). Transitions between euthyroidism and subclinical hypothyroidism were common between 2 and 4 yr. Age and sex did not affect transitions.

CONCLUSIONS:

Subclinical hypothyroidism persists for 4 yr in just over half of older individuals, with high rates of reversion to euthyroidism in individuals with lower TSH concentrations and TPOAb negativity. Future studies should examine the impact of transitions in thyroid status on clinical outcomes.

PMID:
22438233
PMCID:
PMC3387427
DOI:
10.1210/jc.2011-3047
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Publication type, MeSH terms, Substances, Grant support

Publication type

MeSH terms

Substances

Grant support

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Silverchair Information Systems Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center