Prevalence of abnormal thyroid function tests in connective tissue disease

Scand J Rheumatol. 1994;23(3):128-32. doi: 10.3109/03009749409103044.


The prevalence of thyroid function tests' abnormalities in 170 patients with various connective tissue diseases (CTD) was examined and compared to a group of 100 age- and sex-matched controls. The overall prevalence of diagnosed thyroid disease was 3.5%. Categorizing the patients into 5 "functional groups" by the concurrent thyroid function test/results showed normal thyroid function tests in 14%, isolated elevated TSH levels with normal T4 and T3 levels in 4% and findings consistent with the laboratory diagnosis of primary hypothyroidism in 3%. The "euthyroid sick syndrome" was evidenced in 54% and elevated T4 levels and/or increased or normal T3 values with normal TSH in 25%. Antimicrosomal antibodies were noted in 12 patients (7%), with the highest incidence in systemic lupus erythromatosus patients (10%). patients with mixed connective tissue disease had significantly (p < 0.0005) higher frequency of hypothyroidism, whereas patients with systemic vasculities had higher frequency of hyperthyroxinemia. In conclusion, CTD patients frequently have abnormal results of one or more of thyroid function tests. Hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism should be considered when evaluating symptoms and signs in CTD and a significant subset of CTD patients appears to be predisposed to the development of hyperthyroidism.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antibodies / analysis
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Connective Tissue Diseases / classification
  • Connective Tissue Diseases / complications*
  • Connective Tissue Diseases / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Microsomes / immunology
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Thyroid Diseases / complications*
  • Thyroid Diseases / diagnosis
  • Thyroid Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Thyroid Function Tests
  • Thyroid Hormones / blood


  • Antibodies
  • Thyroid Hormones