Impaired secretion of TSH in critically ill patients with 'low T4-syndrome'

in European Journal of Endocrinology
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Abstract.

Thyroid and pituitary function was studied in 10 male and 6 patients female during critical non-endocrine disease. Low concentrations of TT3 were observed in each case. Seven patients out of whom 3 survived, presented with low levels of TT4 due to deficiency in TBG in the presence of normal values of FTI and FT4, whereas a 'low T4-syndrome', characterized by low concentrations of both TT4 and FT4 was seen in 9 patients, 8 of whom died 1 to 16 days after evaluation of pituitary function. A diminished response of TSH to iv TRH (400 μg), as observed in 4 patients with normal FT4 and in all patients with 'low T4-syndrome', was not accompanied by a concomitant lack in stimulated release of LH, FSH and Prl in the majority of cases. However, the secretory maximum of LH and FSH following stimulation by LRH (100 μg iv) was delayed in 10 and in 9 patients, respectively, including patients both with normal and subnormal concentrations of FT4. From the above it appears that low stimulated concentrations of TSH in the presence of subnormal concentrations of FT4 indicate an extremely poor prognosis in critically ill patients. The abnormal behaviour of TSH in this group of patients cannot be explained by generalized pituitary insufficiency or by an increase in FT4.

 

     European Society of Endocrinology

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