Background: American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association guidelines for the diagnosis and management of heart failure recommend investigating exacerbating conditions such as thyroid dysfunction, but without specifying the impact of different thyroid-stimulation hormone (TSH) levels. Limited prospective data exist on the association between subclinical thyroid dysfunction and heart failure events.
Methods and results: We performed a pooled analysis of individual participant data using all available prospective cohorts with thyroid function tests and subsequent follow-up of heart failure events. Individual data on 25 390 participants with 216 248 person-years of follow-up were supplied from 6 prospective cohorts in the United States and Europe. Euthyroidism was defined as TSH of 0.45 to 4.49 mIU/L, subclinical hypothyroidism as TSH of 4.5 to 19.9 mIU/L, and subclinical hyperthyroidism as TSH <0.45 mIU/L, the last two with normal free thyroxine levels. Among 25 390 participants, 2068 (8.1%) had subclinical hypothyroidism and 648 (2.6%) had subclinical hyperthyroidism. In age- and sex-adjusted analyses, risks of heart failure events were increased with both higher and lower TSH levels (P for quadratic pattern <0.01); the hazard ratio was 1.01 (95% confidence interval, 0.81-1.26) for TSH of 4.5 to 6.9 mIU/L, 1.65 (95% confidence interval, 0.84-3.23) for TSH of 7.0 to 9.9 mIU/L, 1.86 (95% confidence interval, 1.27-2.72) for TSH of 10.0 to 19.9 mIU/L (P for trend <0.01) and 1.31 (95% confidence interval, 0.88-1.95) for TSH of 0.10 to 0.44 mIU/L and 1.94 (95% confidence interval, 1.01-3.72) for TSH <0.10 mIU/L (P for trend=0.047). Risks remained similar after adjustment for cardiovascular risk factors.
Conclusion: Risks of heart failure events were increased with both higher and lower TSH levels, particularly for TSH ≥10 and <0.10 mIU/L.