Objectives: The goal of this study was to determine whether subclinical thyroid dysfunction was associated with incident heart failure (HF) and echocardiogram abnormalities. Background: Subclinical hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism have been associated with cardiac dysfunction. However, long-term data on the risk of HF are limited. Methods: We studied 3,044 adults ≥65 years of age who initially were free of HF in the Cardiovascular Health Study. We compared adjudicated HF events over a mean 12-year follow-up and changes in cardiac function over the course of 5 years among euthyroid participants, those with subclinical hypothyroidism (subdivided by thyroid-stimulating hormone [TSH] levels: 4.5 to 9.9, ≥10.0 mU/l), and those with subclinical hyperthyroidism. Results: Over the course of 12 years, 736 participants developed HF events. Participants with TSH ≥10.0 mU/l had a greater incidence of HF compared with euthyroid participants (41.7 vs. 22.9 per 1,000 person years, p = 0.01; adjusted hazard ratio: 1.88; 95% confidence interval: 1.05 to 3.34). Baseline peak E velocity, which is an echocardiographic measurement of diastolic function associated with incident HF in the CHS cohort, was greater in those patients with TSH ≥10.0 mU/l compared with euthyroid participants (0.80 m/s vs. 0.72 m/s, p = 0.002). Over the course of 5 years, left ventricular mass increased among those with TSH ≥10.0 mU/l, but other echocardiographic measurements were unchanged. Those patients with TSH 4.5 to 9.9 mU/l or with subclinical hyperthyroidism had no increase in risk of HF. Conclusions: Compared with euthyroid older adults, those adults with TSH ≥10.0 mU/l have a moderately increased risk of HF and alterations in cardiac function but not older adults with TSH <10.0 mU/l. Clinical trials should assess whether the risk of HF might be ameliorated by thyroxine replacement in individuals with TSH ≥10.0 mU/l.
- cohort study
- heart failure
- subclinical thyroid dysfunction
ASJC Scopus subject areas