Interpretation of thyroid function tests

Lancet. 2001 Feb 24;357(9256):619-24. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(00)04060-5.


The introduction of sensitive thyrotropin assays and free thyroid hormone measurements has simplified the interpretation of thyroid function tests. However, important pitfalls and difficult cases still exist. In this review, thyroid function test results are grouped into six different patterns. We propose that if assays for thyrotropin, free T3, and free T4 are all done, knowledge of these patterns coupled with clinical details and simple additional tests allow a diagnosis to be made in almost all cases.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Diagnostic Errors
  • Humans
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Thyroid Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Thyroid Function Tests / methods*