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Swiss Med Wkly. 2012 Sep 17;142:w13669. doi: 10.4414/smw.2012.13669. eCollection 2012.

Thyroid function and serum electrolytes: does an association really exist?

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Department of Nephrology, Medical University of Graz, Austria.



Thyroid hormone is a central regulator of body functions. Disorders of thyroid function are considered to be a cause of electrolyte disorders. Only few data on the association between thyroid function and electrolyte disorders exists.


In the present retrospective analysis data from all patients admitted to the Department of Emergency Medicine of a university hospital who had measurements of thyroid function (TSH, fT(3), fT(4)) and electrolytes were included.


9,012 patients with measurement of TSH and electrolytes were available. 86% of patients had normal, 4% suppressed and 10% elevated TSH. Serum sodium was significantly lower in patients with high TSH levels (p <0.01). There was a significant correlation between serum TSH and phosphate level (p <0.05). Phosphate levels were higher in patients with elevated TSH than in patients with normal TSH (p <0.01). Serum calcium and magnesium correlated significantly with TSH (p <0.05). fT(3) levels correlated significantly with calcium (p <0.05). Hyponatraemia was present in 14% of patients with high TSH and was significantly more common than in the group with normal TSH levels of which 9% had hyponatraemia (p <0.01). Hypokalaemia was more common in the group with elevated TSH than in those with normal TSH (14 versus 11%, p = 0.016). Hyperkalaemia was more common in the group with high TSH levels (7%) than in those with normal TSH (7 vs. 4%, p <0.01).


An association between thyroid function and electrolyte disorders seems to exist, although it is probably only relevant in marked hypo-/hyperthyroidism.

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