Subclinical Thyroid Dysfunction and the Risk of Heart Failure in Older Persons at High Cardiovascular Risk

    loading  Checking for direct PDF access through Ovid



Subclinical thyroid dysfunction is common in older people. However, its clinical importance is uncertain.


Our objective was to determine the extent to which subclinical hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism influence the risk of heart failure and cardiovascular diseases in older people.

Setting and Design:

The Prospective Study of Pravastatin in the Elderly at Risk (PROSPER) is an prospective cohort study.


Patients included men and women aged 70–82 yr (n = 5316) with known cardiovascular risk factors or previous cardiovascular disease.

Main Outcome Measures:

Incidence rate of heart failure hospitalization, atrial fibrillation, and cardiovascular events and mortality according to baseline thyroid status were evaluated. Euthyroid participants (TSH =0.45–4.5 mIU/liter) were compared with those with subclinical hyperthyroidism (TSH <0.45 mIU/liter) and those with subclinical hypothyroidism (TSH ≥4.5 mIU/liter, both with normal free T4).


Subclinical hyperthyroidism was present in 71 participants and subclinical hypothyroidism in 199 participants. Over 3.2 yr follow-up, the rate of heart failure was higher for subclinical hyperthyroidism compared with euthyroidism [age- and sex-adjusted hazard ratio (HR) = 2.93, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.37–6.24, P = 0.005; multivariate-adjusted HR = 3.27, 95% CI = 1.52–7.02, P = 0.002). Subclinical hypothyroidism (only at threshold >10 mIU/liter) was associated with heart failure (age- and sex-adjusted HR = 3.01, 95% CI = 1.12–8.11, P = 0.029; multivariate HR = 2.28, 95% CI = 0.84–6.23). There were no strong evidence of an association between subclinical thyroid dysfunction and cardiovascular events or mortality, except in those with TSH below 0.1 or over 10 mIU/liter and not taking pravastatin.


Older people at high cardiovascular risk with low or very high TSH along with normal free T4 appear at increased risk of incident heart failure.

Related Topics

    loading  Loading Related Articles