Thyroid hormone substitution therapy rapidly enhances left-ventricular diastolic function in hypothyroid patients

V K Virtanen, H H Saha, K W Groundstroem, J Salmi, A I Pasternack
Cardiology 2001, 96 (2): 59-64

OBJECTIVE: Alterations in thyroid status may lead to changes in both systolic and diastolic function of the heart. Pulsed Doppler echocardiography is a reliable non-invasive means of assessing left-ventricular (LV) diastolic function. The aim of the present study was to evaluate LV diastolic function in patients with primary hypothyroidism receiving thyroxine therapy.

METHODS: Twelve patients (all females, mean age 47 +/- 17, range 16-69 years) with primary hypothyroidism were studied by pulsed Doppler echocardiography. The first examination was made before the start of thyroxine substitution and the second at 37-68 (mean 53 +/- 10) days after commencing thyroxine treatment (mean dose 136 +/- 22 microg/day).

RESULTS: During thyroxine substitution therapy, the hypothyroid patients became clinically euthyroid and serum T4 increased from 51 +/- 21 to 119 +/- 24 nmol/l; TSH decreased from 50.4 +/- 55.3 to 1.2 +/- 1.5 mU/l. During therapy, heart rate increased from 61 +/- 8 to 68 +/- 10 (p = 0.05). The LV posterior wall (7.8 +/- 1.0 mm) and interventricular septum thickness (8.0 +/- 1.4 mm) were significantly greater in hypothyroid patients than in the control subjects (6.4 +/- 1.0 mm, p = 0.007 and 6.8 +/- 1.0 mm, p = 0.04, respectively). There was no significant change in LV dimensions and wall thickness during follow-up. E/A(max) increased significantly during treatment (from 1.679 +/- 0.432 to 1.947 +/- 0.335, p = 0.006). The isovolumic relaxation time shortened significantly (from 88 +/- 23 ms to 75 +/- 24 ms, p = 0.005).

CONCLUSIONS: The present study shows that LV diastolic function as assessed by pulsed Doppler echocardiography in hypothyroid patients is enhanced by thyroxine therapy during a rather short follow-up period.

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