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Abnormalities of thyroid function tests in hospital inpatients.
  1. M. C. Sheppard,
  2. D. B. Ramsden

    Abstract

    Results of thyroid function tests were analysed in 199 clinically euthyroid inpatients with normal serum thyroid stimulating hormone values. Serum total triiodothyronine was less than 1.25 nmol/l in 61.8% of samples, free triiodothyronine less than 3.9 pmol/l in 57.8%, total thyroxine less than 63 nmol/l in 21.1% and free thyroxine less than 9.5 pmol/l in 17.6%. In contrast, thyroxine binding globulin ratio was below normal (less than 5) in only 5 samples. A significant positive correlation (P less than 0.001) of serum free thyroxine with total thyroxine, thyroxine/thyroxine binding globulin ratio and free triiodothyronine was present as well as a significant negative correlation (P less than 0.001) with serum thyroid stimulating hormone. There was no correlation of free thyroxine measurements with serum albumin or non-esterified fatty acid concentrations. Although serum free thyroxine is low in a number of patients with non-thyroidal illnesses, this does not appear to be due to a rise in non-esterified fatty acids or a fall in albumin as has been proposed. Serum thyroid stimulating hormone measurements are essential to confirm the diagnosis of hypothyroidism in such subjects.

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