From the Journals

Low-normal thyroid function tied to advanced fibrosis


 

FROM CLINICAL GASTROENTEROLOGY AND HEPATOLOGY

Advanced fibrosis affected 5.9% of adults with low-normal thyroid function or subclinical hypothyroidism – more than double the prevalence among adults with strict-normal thyroid function (2.8%; P less than .001), according to the results of a large survey study.

Based on these findings, therapy to improve low thyroid function might help prevent advanced fibrosis secondary to nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, wrote Donghee Kim, MD, PhD, of Stanford University (Calif.), together with his associates in Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology.

Prior research has linked low-normal thyroid function with obesity, cardiometabolic diseases, and fractures. For this study, Dr. Kim and his coinvestigators analyzed data from 7,259 adults who lacked major etiologies of chronic liver disease and were included in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey between 2007 and 2012.

After accounting for demographic, socioeconomic, and clinical variables, the odds of biopsy-confirmed advanced fibrosis were 100% higher in adults with low-normal thyroid function or subclinical hypothyroidism, compared with adults with strict-normal thyroid function (odds ratio, 2.0; 95% confidence interval, 1.2-3.3). The prevalence and odds of advanced fibrosis was similar in each of these two subgroups. Furthermore, low thyroid function remained strongly linked with advanced fibrosis after accounting for insulin resistance using data from fasting subjects (OR, 2.3; 95% CI, 1.2-4.4).

Previously, Dr. Kim and his coinvestigators found a strong link between biopsy-proven advanced fibrosis and low-normal thyroid function or subclinical hypothyroidism among adults in Korea. “These [new] results are consistent with our previous observations in [an] Asian population, and show their generalizability to the Western world across all ethnicities.”

The researchers did not acknowledge external funding sources. They reported having no conflicts of interest.

SOURCE: Kim D et al. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2018 Nov 17. doi: 10.1016/j.cgh.2018.11.024.

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