Thyroid status and mortality in a prospective hemodialysis cohort

Connie M. Rhee, Amy S. You, Danh V. Nguyen, Steven M. Brunelli, Matthew J. Budoff, Elani Streja, Tracy Nakata, Csaba P. Kovesdy, Gregory A. Brent, Kamyar Kalantar-Zadeh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Context and Objective: Compared with the general population, hemodialysis patients have a substantially higher risk of hypothyroidism, as defined by an elevated serum thyrotropin (TSH) level, and cardiovascularmortality.Whereas an elevated TSHis associated with cardiovascular disease and death in the general population, associations among dialysis patients have been inconsistent. Design, Setting, Participants, and Main Outcome: We examined 541 hemodialysis patients from 17 southern California dialysis centers in the prospective Hypothyroidism, Cardiovascular Health, and Survival study who underwent protocolized measurement of repeated serum TSH levels every 6 months from 2013 to 2015. Associations between TSH tertiles (,1.28, 1.28 to ,2.14, and 2.14 to 86.7 mIU/L) and mortality were estimated using time-dependent Cox models with four adjustment levels. In sensitivity analyses, we excluded patients receiving thyroid hormone supplementation. Results: Compared with the lowest TSH tertile, the highest TSH tertile was associated with a 2.2-to 2.5-fold higher mortality risk in unadjusted, case-mix, expanded case-mix1laboratory, and expanded case-mix1laboratory1medication models [hazard ratios (95% confidence interval), 2.54 (1.32 to 4.89), 2.53 (1.30 to 4.93), 2.19 (1.11 to 4.32), and 2.28 (1.45 to 3.58), respectively]. We observed a consistent trend between higher TSH tertiles and numerically higher mortality risk across all models. Similar findings were observed in analyses excluding patients receiving thyroid hormone supplementation. Conclusion: In time-dependent analyses, TSH levels in the high-normal to high range were independently associated with higher death risk in hemodialysis patients. Further studies are indicated to determine whether normalization of TSH levels with thyroid hormone supplementation improves survival in this population. (J Clin Endocrinol Metab 102: 1568-1577, 2017).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1568-1577
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Biochemistry
  • Endocrinology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biochemistry, medical


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