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Perspectives

Thyroid disease: how does it affect the heart?

Niyati Jauhar, DUNCAN J. TOPLISS

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© MEDICAL RF.COM/SPL
© MEDICAL RF.COM/SPL

Abstract

Both hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism can seriously affect cardiovascular health. This article discusses the mechanisms by which thyroid disease can affect the cardiovascular system, diagnostic and monitoring measures and treatment options.

Key Points

  • Hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism can both lead to heart disease, and thus to increased mortality.
  • Hyperthyroidism is associated with tachycardia, raised systolic blood pressure, arrhythmia and atrial fibrillation, mitral valve prolapse and cardiac failure.
  • Hypothyroidism is associated with bradycardia, dyslipidaemia and ischaemic heart disease, and contributes to cardiac failure.
  • Amiodarone, an important antiarrhythmic drug, can cause hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism. Amiodarone-induced hyperthyroidism can be especially challenging to treat.
  • Careful monitoring of clinical thyroid status, thyroid hormone levels and heart function will guide treatment of these conditions.
  • Nonthyroidal illness can alter in vitro thyroid function tests and presents a diagnostic challenge versus thyroid disease, particularly in severe heart illness.

Figures

© MEDICAL RF.COM/SPL
© MEDICAL RF.COM/SPL