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Treating hypothyroidism

BMJ 1997; 315 doi: (Published 23 August 1997) Cite this as: BMJ 1997;315:490

Biochemical tests are important in diagnosis

  1. Graham H Beastall, Top grade biochemist in endocrinologya,
  2. John A Thomson, Consultant in endocrinologya
  1. a Glasgow Royal Infirmary University NHS Trust, Glasgow G4 0SF
  2. b West Middlesex University Hospital NHS Trust, Isleworth, Middlesex TW7 6AF

    Editor—Like Gordon R B Skinner and colleagues, we recognise that the clinical diagnosis of hypothyroidism is a challenge for general practitioners1; recent reviews of the published literature make it clear that the non-specific nature of the signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism means that biochemical tests of thyroid function (specifically serum thyroid stimulating hormone) are an essential component of the diagnosis.2 3 4 5

    There were several shortcomings in the letter from Skinner and colleagues. The clinical criteria of hypothyroidism used are neither stated nor referenced. The method of selecting patients is …

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