Thyroid Hormones and Coronary Artery Calcification in Euthyroid Men and Women
Objective—Overt and subclinical hypothyroidism are risk factors for atherosclerosis. It is unclear whether thyroid hormone levels within the normal range are also associated with atherosclerosis measured by coronary artery calcium (CAC).
Approach and Results—We conducted a cross-sectional study of 41 403 apparently healthy young and middle-aged men and women with normal thyroid hormone levels. Free thyroxin, free triiodothyronine, and thyroid-stimulating hormone levels were measured by electrochemiluminescent immunoassay. CAC score was measured by multidetector computed tomography. The multivariable adjusted CAC ratios comparing the highest versus the lowest quartile of thyroid hormones were 0.74 (95% confidence interval, 0.60–0.91; P for trend <0.001) for free thyroxin, 0.81 (0.66–1.00; P for trend=0.05) for free triiodothyronine, and 0.78 (0.64–0.95; P for trend=0.01) for thyroid-stimulating hormone. Similarly, the odds ratios for detectable CAC (CAC >0) comparing the highest versus the lowest quartiles of thyroid hormones were 0.87 (0.79–0.96; P for linear trend <0.001) for free thyroxin, 0.90 (0.82–0.99; P for linear trend=0.02) for free triiodothyronine, and 0.91 (0.83–1.00; P for linear trend=0.03) for thyroid-stimulating hormone.
Conclusion—In a large cohort of apparently healthy young and middle-aged euthyroid men and women, low-normal free thyroxin and thyroid-stimulating hormone were associated with a higher prevalence of subclinical coronary artery disease and with a greater degree of coronary calcification.
- Received April 24, 2014.
- Accepted July 7, 2014.
- © 2014 American Heart Association, Inc.