Heart rate variability and turbulence in hyperthyroidism before, during, and after treatment

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Abstract

Patients with subclinical and treated overt hyperthyroidism have an excess vascular mortality rate. Several symptoms and signs in overt hyperthyroidism suggest abnormality of cardiac autonomic function that may account in part for this excess mortality rate, but few studies have examined cardiac autonomic function in untreated and treated hyperthyroidism. We assessed heart rate turbulence (HRT) and time-domain parameters of heart rate variability in a large, unselected cohort of patients with overt hyperthyroidism referred to our thyroid clinic (n = 259) and compared findings with a group of normal subjects with euthyroidism (n = 440). These measures were also evaluated during antithyroid therapy (when serum-free thyroxine and triiodothyronine concentrations returned to normal but thyrotropin remained suppressed (i.e., subclinical hyperthyroidism, n = 110) and when subjects were rendered clinically and biochemically euthyroid (normal serum thyrotropin, free thyroxine and triiodothyronine concentrations, n = 219). We found that overall measures of heart rate variability and those specific for cardiac vagal modulation were attenuated in patients with overt hyperthyroidism compared with normal subjects; measurements of overall heart rate variability remained low in those with low levels of serum thyrotropin but returned to normal in patients with biochemical euthyroidism. Measurements of HRT (onset and slope) were also decreased in patients with overt hyperthyroidism, but HRT slope returned to normal values with antithyroid treatment. This study is the first to evaluate HRT in overt and treated hyperthyroidism.

Details

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)465-9
Number of pages5
JournalThe American Journal of Cardiology
Volume94
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 15 Aug 2004