Low thyroid levels may signal heightened risk of death in hospitalized patients

October 30, 2013, The Endocrine Society

Older individuals hospitalized with a serious condition may face a slimmer risk of surviving if their thyroid hormone levels are low, according to a recent study accepted for publication in The Endocrine Society's Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism (JCEM).

The thyroid gland, located in the neck, produces hormones that regulate the body's temperature, consumption of oxygen and metabolism. The gland produces two hormones, triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4), which travel through the blood to spur activity in various tissues.

"When older individuals have low of thyroid hormones, particularly T3, it reflects that the body is weak and more susceptible to the harmful effects of disease," said the study's first author Pedro Iglesias, MD, of Hospital Ramón y Cajal in Madrid, Spain. "As a result, older individuals who have a reduced ability to synthesize T3 hormones have a higher rate of mortality, both in the short- and long-term."

As part of the prospective observational study, researchers measured thyroid hormone levels in all patients who were 65 years of age or older when they were admitted to the Hospital General in Segovia, Spain in 2005. For 404 patients, researchers tracked the length of hospital stay and the survival rate among the group as of Jan. 1, 2012.

During the seven-year study, 323 patients died. The study found an association between low levels of thyroid hormones and mortality. The analysis found low levels of , in particular T3, tended to be a predictor for all-cause mortality. The patients in the group with the lowest levels of T3 hormones and thyroid-stimulating hormone, which the body uses to activate the , also had higher rates of death from cardiovascular disease.

"T3 could be a useful measure for gauging an older individual's chances of surviving an acute illness requiring hospitalization," Iglesias said. "The reduced ability to synthesize the observed in this group of could be related to the severity of the disease and its prognosis."

Explore further: Endocrine-disrupting chemicals may increase odds of women developing mild hypothyroidism

More information: The article, "Thyroid Function Tests and Mortality in Aged Hospitalized Patients: a 7-year Prospective Observational Study," is scheduled to appear in the December 2013 issue of JCEM.

Related Stories

Endocrine-disrupting chemicals may increase odds of women developing mild hypothyroidism

July 17, 2013
Exposure to perfluorinated chemicals is linked to changes in thyroid function and may raise the risk of mild hypothyroidism in women, according to a recent study accepted for publication in The Endocrine Society's Journal ...

Subclinical thyroid condition associated with increased cardiovascular mortality

April 29, 2013
Having high thyroid activity, and even "high-normal" levels, is a significant risk factor for cardiovascular and all-cause mortality, according to work which has received an award at the European Congress of Endocrinology ...

Thyroid hormones reduce damage and improve heart function after myocardial infarction in rats

February 28, 2013
Thyroid hormone treatment administered to rats at the time of a heart attack (myocardial infarction) led to significant reduction in the loss of heart muscle cells and improvement in heart function, according to a study published ...

Thyroid hormone plays a key part in the vascular regulation of body temperature

September 16, 2013
Researchers at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden have discovered a reason why people with disorders of the thyroid gland may be more sensitive to environmental temperature. According to the study, published in the Proceedings ...

First links between thyroid hormone and mortality

August 5, 2013
DATA from The Health In Men Study (HIMS) has revealed a link between thyroid hormones and mortality in older men, revealing the first-ever association between high thyroxine levels within the normal range with all-cause mortality.

Low T3 syndrome predicts unfavorable outcomes in surgical patients with brain tumor

March 12, 2013
In a study of 90 patients undergoing surgery for brain tumor, researchers in Lithuania (Lithuanian University of Health Sciences) and the United States (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Brigham & Women's Hospital, ...

Recommended for you

New long-acting approach for malaria therapy developed

January 22, 2018
A new study, published in Nature Communications, conducted by the University of Liverpool and the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine highlights a new 'long acting' medicine for the prevention of malaria.

Virus shown to be likely cause of mystery polio-like illness

January 22, 2018
A major review by UNSW researchers has identified strong evidence that a virus called Enterovirus D68 is the cause of a mystery polio-like illness that has paralysed children in the US, Canada and Europe.

Creation of synthetic horsepox virus could lead to more effective smallpox vaccine

January 19, 2018
UAlberta researchers created a new synthetic virus that could lead to the development of a more effective vaccine against smallpox. The discovery demonstrates how techniques based on the use of synthetic DNA can be used to ...

Study ends debate over role of steroids in treating septic shock

January 19, 2018
The results from the largest ever study of septic shock could improve treatment for critically ill patients and save health systems worldwide hundreds of millions of dollars each year.

New approach could help curtail hospitalizations due to influenza infection

January 18, 2018
More than 700,000 Americans were hospitalized due to illnesses associated with the seasonal flu during the 2014-15 flu season, according to federal estimates. A radical new approach to vaccine development at UCLA may help ...

Flu may be spread just by breathing, new study shows; coughing and sneezing not required

January 18, 2018
It is easier to spread the influenza virus (flu) than previously thought, according to a new University of Maryland-led study released today. People commonly believe that they can catch the flu by exposure to droplets from ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.