ContextStudies of long-term outcomes of subclinical hypothyroidism have assessed only baseline thyroid function, despite natural transitions to euthyroidism and overt hypothyroidism over time.
The Natural History of Subclinical Hypothyroidism in the Elderly: The Cardiovascular Health Study
LL Somwaru, CM Rariy, AM Arnold and AR Cappola
Subclinical Hypothyroidism May Spontaneously Revert to Euthyroidism in Elderly Patients Negative for TPO Antibodies
Jerome M. Hershman, MD, Samenvatting, analyse en commentaar
ObjectiveWe 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 ParticipantsParticipants 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 MeasureThyroid 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.
ResultsPersistence 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.