Author(s): Fazio S, Palmieri EA, Lombardi G, Biondi B
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Abstract Increased or reduced action of thyroid hormone on certain molecular pathways in the heart and vasculature causes relevant cardiovascular derangements. It is well established that overt hyperthyroidism induces a hyperdynamic cardiovascular state (high cardiac output with low systemic vascular resistance), which is associated with a faster heart rate, enhanced left ventricular (LV) systolic and diastolic function, and increased prevalence of supraventricular tachyarrhythmias - namely, atrial fibrillation - whereas overt hypothyroidism is characterized by the opposite changes. However, whether changes in cardiac performance associated with overt thyroid dysfunction are due mainly to alterations of myocardial contractility or to loading conditions remains unclear. Extensive evidence indicates that the cardiovascular system responds to the minimal but persistent changes in circulating thyroid hormone levels, which are typical of individuals with subclinical thyroid dysfunction. Subclinical hyperthyroidism is associated with increased heart rate, atrial arrhythmias, increased LV mass, impaired ventricular relaxation, reduced exercise performance, and increased risk of cardiovascular mortality. Subclinical hypothyroidism is associated with impaired LV diastolic function and subtle systolic dysfunction and an enhanced risk for atherosclerosis and myocardial infarction. Because all cardiovascular abnormalities are reversed by restoration of euthyroidism ("subclinical hypothyroidism") or blunted by beta-blockade and L-thyroxine (L-T4) dose tailoring ("subclinical hyperthyroidism"), timely treatment is advisable in an attempt to avoid adverse cardiovascular effects. Interestingly, some data indicate that patients with acute and chronic cardiovascular disorders and those undergoing cardiac surgery may have altered peripheral thyroid hormone metabolism that, in turn, may contribute to altered cardiac function. Preliminary clinical investigations suggest that administration of thyroid hormone or its analogue 3,5-diiodothyropropionic acid greatly benefits these patients, highlighting the potential role of thyroid hormone treatment in patients with acute and chronic cardiovascular disease.
This article was published in Recent Prog Horm Res
and referenced in Biology and Medicine