Comparison Between Total Thyroidectomy and Medical Therapy for Amiodarone-Induced Thyrotoxicosis

J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2020 Jan 1;105(1):dgz041. doi: 10.1210/clinem/dgz041.


Context: It is not known whether total thyroidectomy is more favorable than medical therapy for patients with amiodarone-induced thyrotoxicosis (AIT).

Objective: To compare total thyroidectomy with medical therapy on survival and cardiac function in AIT patients.

Methods: Observational longitudinal cohort study involving 207 AIT patients that had received total thyroidectomy (surgery group, n = 51) or medical therapy (medical therapy group, n = 156) over a 20-year period. AIT types and left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) classes were determined at diagnosis of AIT. Cardiac and thyroid function were reevaluated during the study period. Survival was estimated using the Kaplan-Meier method.

Results: Overall mortality and cardiac-specific mortality at 10 and 5 years, respectively, were lower in the surgery group than in the medical therapy group (P = 0.04 and P = 0.01, respectively). The lower mortality rate of the surgery group was due to patients with moderate to severely compromised LVEF (P = 0.005 vs medical therapy group). In contrast, mortality of patients with normal or mildly reduced LVEF did not differ between the 2 groups (P = 0.281 and P = 0.135, respectively). Death of patients with moderate to severe LV systolic dysfunction in the medical therapy group occurred after 82 days (interquartile range, 56-99), a period longer than that necessary to restore euthyroidism in the surgery group (26 days; interquartile range, 15-95; P = 0.038). Risk factors for mortality were age (hazard ratio [HR] = 1.036) and LVEF (HR = 0.964), whereas total thyroidectomy was shown to be a protective factor (HR = 0.210). LVEF increased in both groups after restoration of euthyroidism, above all in the most compromised patients in the surgery group.

Conclusions: Total thyroidectomy could be considered the therapeutic choice for AIT patients with severe systolic dysfunction, whereas it is not superior to medical therapy in those with normal or mildly reduced LVEF.

Keywords: AIT; amiodarone; survival; thyroidectomy; thyrotoxicosis.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Amiodarone / adverse effects*
  • Amiodarone / therapeutic use
  • Anti-Arrhythmia Agents / adverse effects
  • Anti-Arrhythmia Agents / therapeutic use
  • Cardiomyopathies / drug therapy
  • Cardiomyopathies / mortality
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Glucocorticoids / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Stroke Volume / drug effects
  • Survival Analysis
  • Thioamides / therapeutic use*
  • Thyroid Function Tests
  • Thyroidectomy* / methods
  • Thyroidectomy* / statistics & numerical data
  • Thyrotoxicosis / chemically induced*
  • Thyrotoxicosis / drug therapy*
  • Thyrotoxicosis / mortality
  • Thyrotoxicosis / surgery*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Ventricular Function, Left / drug effects


  • Anti-Arrhythmia Agents
  • Glucocorticoids
  • Thioamides
  • Amiodarone