Cardiovascular effects of mild hypothyroidism

Thyroid. 2007 Jul;17(7):625-30. doi: 10.1089/thy.2007.0158.


The cardiovascular risk is increased in patients with overt hypothyroidism, and several potential cardiovascular risk factors were similarly reported in patients with subclinical hypothyroidism. Only recently have more data become available about the effects of mild hypothyroidism on the cardiovascular system. An impaired left ventricular diastolic function, which is characterized by slowed myocardial relaxation and impaired ventricular filling, is the most consistent cardiac abnormality in patients with mild thyroid hormone deficiency. Impaired left ventricular diastolic function on effort was also documented by radionuclide ventriculography. Studies performed by ultrasonic myocardial textural analysis suggest an altered myocardial composition in patients with mild hypothyroidism. Moreover, pulsed tissue Doppler analysis revealed that patients with mild hypothyroidism had changes in myocardial time intervals in several left ventricular segments. Finally, alterations in cardiac hemodynamic were documented by cardiac magnetic resonance imaging in presence of mild disease. Vascular function is impaired in patients with mild and subclinical hypothyroidism, as documented by the increase in systemic vascular resistance and arterial stiffness and by the impaired endothelial function. The negative effect induced by mild hypothyroidism on cardiovascular system can be reverted restoring euthyroidism with levothyroxine (L-T4) therapy. Based on the data available, it appears that L-T4 replacement should be considered in patients with mild hypothyroidism in presence of associated cardiovascular risk factors in the attempt to reverse these negative prognostic factors and improve the cardiovascular risk.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cardiovascular Physiological Phenomena*
  • Hashimoto Disease / physiopathology*
  • Heart / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Hypothyroidism / physiopathology*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Reference Values
  • Thyroid Function Tests