Papers And Originals

Thyroid Function in Patients Treated with Radioactive Iodine for Thyrotoxicosis

Br Med J 1974; 3 doi: (Published 13 July 1974) Cite this as: Br Med J 1974;3:89
  1. W. M. G. Tunbridge,
  2. P. Harsoulis,
  3. A. W. G. Goolden


    A series of 105 patients treated at least two years earlier with radioactive iodine for thyrotoxicosis have been surveyed. Eighty-five patients (81%) were euthyroid clinically and on the basis of routine thyroid function tests. Of the euthyroid patients 46 (54%) had normal thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) levels and 39 (46%) had raised TSH levels. There was no difference in serum triiodothyronine levels between these two groups but the serum protein bound iodine and serum thyroxine, though still well within the normal range, were significantly lower in the group with raised TSH levels. The serum cholesterol was also significantly higher in this latter group.

    Most of the euthyroid patients were seen again a year later. None had become hypothyroid and neither those with normal nor those with raised TSH levels showed any evidence of a decline in the level of serum thyroxine.

    It is concluded that raised serum TSH levels in patients treated with iodine-131 are not necessarily indicative of hypothyroidism. There is no indication that patients who have this abnormality become overtly hypothyroid over a 12-month follow up.