Goitre epidemiology: thyroid volume, iodine excretion, thyroglobulin and thyrotropin in Germany and Sweden

in European Journal of Endocrinology
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Abstract. Thyroid volume of 1397 German and 303 Swedish adults were estimated by sonography. Thyroid size of 6–16 year old Germans (n = 619) was determined and compared with findings on palpation. Thyroid volume was more than twice as great in German (21.4 ± 15.6 ml, mean ± sd) than in Swedish adults (10.1 ± 4.9 ml). The echopattern was abnormal in 16% of the Germans and in 3.6% of the Swedes. German children have a thyroid volume ranging from 1.8 ± 0.4 ml at 6 years to 10.8 ± 6.0 ml at 16 years of age. Palpation is by comparison an unreliable method for determining thyroid size. In Germany, the iodine excretion was less in children (n = 619, 39.5 ± 30.5, 34.1 μg I/g creatinine, mean ± sd, median) than in adults (n = 1193, 83.7 ± 94.4, 62.6), (P <0.001) and much lower than that observed in Sweden (adults n = 98, 170.2 ± 93.3, 141.4; 13 year olds n = 113, 172.9 ± 224.1, 124), (P < 0.0001). Serum thyrotropin concentration was significantly higher (P <0.001) in Sweden (n = 62, 1.49 ± 0.82 mU/ml), than in Germany (n = 91, 0.97 ± 0.52 mU/ml), while serum thyroglobulin was increased in Germany (n = 91, 72.6 ± 50.6 μg/l) as compared to Sweden (n = 62, 23.5 ± 17.4), (P <0.0001). These results indicate the goitrogenic effect of iodine deficiency and the continuing need for an effective iodine prophylaxis in the FRG.

 

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