Research Article

Thyroid hormones in the elderly sick: "T4 euthyroidism".

Br Med J 1975; 4 doi: (Published 22 November 1975) Cite this as: Br Med J 1975;4:437
  1. A W Burrows,
  2. R A Shakespear,
  3. R D Hesch,
  4. E Cooper,
  5. C M Aickin,
  6. C W Burke


    Thyroid function and serum levels of triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4) were investigated in 79 euthyroid geriatric patients. Of the 59 inpatients and 20 outpatients 35 (59%) and 2, respectively, had low T3 levels. In contrast, 7 (12%) and 6 (30%), respectively, had raised T4 levels. Two further patients were excluded from the study because of raised levels of thyroid-stimulating hormone. Thyroxine-binding globulin was greatly increased in both groups of patients, but low serum albumin levels were present in 31 (39%). Despite these changes free T3 and T4 indices closely followed total T3 and T4 levels. The difference between the two groups of patients did not correlate with body weight, diagnostic categories, age, drug treatment, or duration of stay in hospital.