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Research Article

Serum thyrotrophin concentration: an unreliable test for detection of early hypothyroidism after thyroidectomy.

Br Med J 1975; 4 doi: (Published 18 October 1975) Cite this as: Br Med J 1975;4:129
  1. G Hennemann,
  2. M Van Welsum,
  3. B Bernard,
  4. R Docter,
  5. T J Visser


    Three groups of patients who had undergone subtotal thyroidectomy for Graves's disease, toxic multinodular goitre, or euthyroid multinodular goitre 12 to 15 years before and in whom a normal serum thyroxine (T-4) level was found were each divided into two subgroups on the basis of a normal or a raised serum thyrotrophin concentration. There was no difference in mean serum T-4 concentration between patients with normal and those with raised serum thyrotrophin concentrations, and the values were similar to the mean T-4 values of the normal population. The mean serum triiodothyronine values of all groups were higher than normal, but the mean values of the groups with a normal and a raised serum thyrotrophin were similar. After thyroidectomy a mildly raised serum thyrotrophin does not in itself indicate the presence of hypothyroidism.