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  • Author: Henrik Toft Sørensen x
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Kristina Laugesen, Jens Otto Lunde Jørgensen, Irene Petersen and Henrik Toft Sørensen

Objective

Glucocorticoid treatment of inflammatory disorders is associated with significant adverse effects related to glucocorticoid excess as well as adrenal insufficiency. This necessitates awareness of its use. We therefore investigated trends in systemic glucocorticoid use as well as morbidity and comedications among users.

Design

Cross-sectional drug utilisation study.

Methods

We conducted a population-based study of 926,314 users of systemic glucocorticoids (oral and injectable formulations) from 1999 to 2014 using Danish nationwide registries. We computed annual prevalence and incidence of systemic glucocorticoid use and prevalence of comedications and morbidity. Further, we assessed the annual amount of disease-modifying drug use.

Results

Of the 926,314 users of systemic glucocorticoids, 54% were female and median age at first-time use was 55 years. The annual prevalence was ≈ 3%, while the incidence was ≈ 1.4/100 person years (p-y). Both figures remained constant from 1999 to 2014. In the elderly, the annual prevalence was 6.7–7.7% (60–79 years of age) and 9.7–11% (≥80 years of age). Incidence increased among persons aged ≥80 years from 3.0/100 p-y in 1999 to 3.6/100 p-y in 2014. Concomitantly, the annual amount of for example methotrexate, azathioprine and tumour necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha agents increased and new biological agents emerged. The most frequent comedications were antibiotics (49%), cardiovascular drugs (38%) and NSAIDs (37%).

Conclusions

Our findings confirm a widespread use of systemic glucocorticoids, especially in the elderly, which prevails despite increased use of disease-modifying drugs. The continuously prevalent use of glucocorticoid use constitutes a challenge for the endocrine community.

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Mette Søgaard, Dóra Körmendiné Farkas, Vera Ehrenstein, Jens Otto Lunde Jørgensen, Olaf M Dekkers and Henrik Toft Sørensen

Objective

The association between thyroid disease and breast cancer risk remains unclear. We, therefore examined the association between hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism and breast cancer risk.

Design

This was a population-based cohort study.

Methods

Using nationwide registries, we identified all women in Denmark with a first-time hospital diagnosis of hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism, 1978–2013. We estimated the excess risk of breast cancer among patients with hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism compared with the expected risk in the general population, using standardized incidence ratios (SIRs) as a measure of risk ratio. Breast cancer diagnoses in the first 12 months following diagnosis of thyroid disease were excluded from the calculations to avoid diagnostic work-up bias.

Results

We included 61 873 women diagnosed with hypothyroidism and 80 343 women diagnosed with hyperthyroidism. Median follow-up time was 4.9 years (interquartile range (IQR): 1.8–9.5 years) for hypothyroidism and 7.4 years (IQR: 3.1–13.5 years) for hyperthyroidism. Hyperthyroidism was associated with a slightly increased breast cancer risk compared with the general population (SIR: 1.11, 95% CI: 1.07–1.16), which persisted beyond 5 years of follow-up (SIR: 1.13, 95% CI: 1.08–1.19). In comparison, hypothyroidism was associated with a slightly lower risk of breast cancer (SIR: 0.94, 95% CI: 0.88–1.00). Stratification by cancer stage at diagnosis, estrogen receptor status, age, comorbidity, history of alcohol-related disease and clinical diagnoses of obesity produced little change in cancer risk.

Conclusions

We found an increased risk of breast cancer in women with hyperthyroidism and a slightly decreased risk in women with hypothyroidism indicating an association between thyroid function level and breast cancer risk.

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Olaf M Dekkers, Erzsébet Horváth-Puhó, Suzanne C Cannegieter, Jan P Vandenbroucke, Henrik Toft Sørensen and Jens Otto L Jørgensen

Objective

Several studies have shown an increased risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD) in hyperthyroidism, but most studies have been too small to address the effect of hyperthyroidism on individual cardiovascular endpoints. Our main aim was to assess the association among hyperthyroidism, acute cardiovascular events and mortality.

Design

It is a nationwide population-based cohort study. Data were obtained from the Danish Civil Registration System and the Danish National Patient Registry, which covers all Danish hospitals. We compared the rate of all-cause mortality as well as venous thromboembolism (VTE), acute myocardial infarction (AMI), ischemic and non-ischemic stroke, arterial embolism, atrial fibrillation (AF) and percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) in the two cohorts. Hazard ratios (HR) with 95% confidence intervals (95% CI) were estimated.

Results

The study included 85 856 hyperthyroid patients and 847 057 matched population-based controls. Mean follow-up time was 9.2 years. The HR for mortality was highest in the first 3 months after diagnosis of hyperthyroidism: 4.62, 95% CI: 4.40–4.85, and remained elevated during long-term follow-up (>3 years) (HR: 1.35, 95% CI: 1.33–1.37). The risk for all examined cardiovascular events was increased, with the highest risk in the first 3 months after hyperthyroidism diagnosis. The 3-month post-diagnosis risk was highest for atrial fibrillation (HR: 7.32, 95% CI: 6.58–8.14) and arterial embolism (HR: 6.08, 95% CI: 4.30–8.61), but the risks of VTE, AMI, ischemic and non-ischemic stroke and PCI were increased also 2- to 3-fold.

Conclusions

We found an increased risk for all-cause mortality and acute cardiovascular events in patients with hyperthyroidism.

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Jakob Dal, Ulla Feldt-Rasmussen, Marianne Andersen, Lars Ø Kristensen, Peter Laurberg, Lars Pedersen, Olaf M Dekkers, Henrik Toft Sørensen and Jens Otto L Jørgensen

Design

Valid data on acromegaly incidence, complications and mortality are scarce. The Danish Health Care System enables nationwide studies with complete follow-up and linkage among health-related databases to assess acromegaly incidence, prevalence, complications and mortality in a population-based cohort study.

Method

All incident cases of acromegaly in Denmark (1991–2010) were identified from health registries and validated by chart review. We estimated the annual incidence rate of acromegaly per 106 person-years (py) with 95% confidence intervals (95% CIs). For every patient, 10 persons were sampled from the general population as a comparison cohort. Cox regression and hazard ratios (HRs) with 95% confidence intervals (95% CIs) were used.

Results

Mean age at diagnosis (48.7 years (CI: 95%: 47.2–50.1)) and annual incidence rate (3.8 cases/106 persons (95% CI: 3.6–4.1)) among the 405 cases remained stable. The prevalence in 2010 was 85 cases/106 persons. The patients were at increased risk of diabetes mellitus (HR: 4.0 (95% CI: 2.7–5.8)), heart failure (HR: 2.5 (95% CI: 1.4–4.5)), venous thromboembolism (HR: 2.3 (95% CI: 1.1–5.0)), sleep apnoea (HR: 11.7 (95% CI: 7.0–19.4)) and arthropathy (HR: 2.1 (95% CI: 1.6–2.6)). The complication risk was also increased before the diagnosis of acromegaly. Overall mortality risk was elevated (HR: 1.3 (95% CI: 1.0–1.7)) but uninfluenced by treatment modality.

Conclusion

(i) The incidence rate and age at diagnosis of acromegaly have been stable over decades, and the prevalence is higher than previously reported. (ii) The risk of complications is very high even before the diagnosis. (iii) Mortality risk remains elevated but uninfluenced by mode of treatment.

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Johanne Marie Holst, Erzsébet Horváth-Puhó, Rikke Beck Jensen, Mariane Rix, Kurt Kristensen, Niels Thomas Hertel, Olaf M Dekkers, Henrik Toft Sørensen, Anders Juul and Jens Otto L Jørgensen

Objective

Cushing’s syndrome (CS) affects all age groups, but epidemiologic data in young patients are very limited. We therefore examined the incidence, prevalence and hospital morbidity of CS in children and adolescents.

Design

In a nationwide cohort study, we included all Danish citizens aged 0–20 years from 1977 to 2012. Data were obtained from the Danish National Patient Registry using the International Classification of Diseases (ICD) codes and the Danish Civil Registration System. The diagnosis and treatment were validated by means of individual patient charts. Incidence rate of CS patients aged 0–20 years at diagnosis were computed (standardized to the age and sex distribution of the Danish population). The patients were followed for a maximum of 36 years. Standardized incidence ratios (SIRs) of different hospital-recorded outcomes based on the ICD codes in patients with CS compared to the general population were assessed.

Results

We identified a total of 40 pediatric patients with CS, yielding an annual incidence of 0.89 cases/106 population (95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.63–1.16). The median age at the time of diagnosis was 13.8 years (interquartile range: 10.5–18.2 years), 58% were female and 70% had adrenocorticotropic hormone-producing pituitary adenomas. During follow-up, CS patients (excluding three malignant cases) were at increased risk of being diagnosed with infections (SIR: 3.24, 95% CI: 1.05–7.54) and infertility (SIR: 4.56, 95% CI: 1.48–10.63). The three patients with an adrenocortical carcinoma died shortly after diagnosis, but mortality was not increased in the remaining patients.

Conclusions

CS is rare in the pediatric population. The risk of morbidity related to infections and infertility is elevated and merits further attention.

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Louise Holland-Bill, Christian Fynbo Christiansen, Uffe Heide-Jørgensen, Sinna Pilgaard Ulrichsen, Troels Ring, Jens Otto L Jørgensen and Henrik Toft Sørensen

Objective

We aimed to investigate the impact of hyponatremia severity on mortality risk and assess any evidence of a dose–response relation, utilizing prospectively collected data from population-based registries.

Design

Cohort study of 279 508 first-time acute admissions to Departments of Internal Medicine in the North and Central Denmark Regions from 2006 to 2011.

Methods

We used the Kaplan–Meier method (1 – survival function) to compute 30-day and 1-year mortality in patients with normonatremia and categories of increasing hyponatremia severity. Relative risks (RRs) with 95% CIs, adjusted for age, gender and previous morbidities, and stratified by clinical subgroups were estimated by the pseudo-value approach. The probability of death was estimated treating serum sodium as a continuous variable.

Results

The prevalence of admission hyponatremia was 15% (41 803 patients). Thirty-day mortality was 3.6% in normonatremic patients compared to 7.3, 10.0, 10.4 and 9.6% in patients with serum sodium levels of 130–134.9, 125–129.9, 120–124.9 and <120 mmol/l, resulting in adjusted RRs of 1.4 (95% CI: 1.3–1.4), 1.7 (95% CI: 1.6–1.8), 1.7 (95% CI: 1.4–1.9) and 1.3 (95% CI: 1.1–1.5) respectively. Mortality risk was increased across virtually all clinical subgroups, and remained increased by 30–40% 1 year after admission. The probability of death increased when serum sodium decreased from 139 to 132 mmol/l. No clear increase in mortality was observed for lower concentrations.

Conclusions

Hyponatremia is highly prevalent among patients admitted to Departments of Internal Medicine and is associated with increased 30-day and 1-year mortality risk, regardless of underlying disease. This risk seems independent of hyponatremia severity.