Liver function in cirrhotic patients in the euthyroid versus the hypothyroid state

Ran Oren, Shlomo Brill, Iris Dotan, Zamir Halpern

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We recently showed that some decrease in thyroid hormone blood levels can effectively and significantly prevent the development of cirrhosis and fulminant hepatic failure and decrease portal pressure in three different rat models. This study was conducted to determine whether hypothyroidism has a beneficial effect over euthyroidism on patients with active liver cirrhosis of different etiologies. The medical files of hypothyroid patients with cirrhosis who were referred to the Tel-Aviv Medical Center between the years 1980 and 1995 were retrospectively evaluated. Of 3,528 patients with biopsy- proven cirrhosis and 4,738 hypothyroid patients who were identified, only 46 (25 female, 54%; mean age, 52.3 ± 9.1) met the eligibility criteria. The patients suffered from cirrhosis (mean, 9.5 ± 4.3 years; range, 4-23) and had hypothyroidism (mean, 12 ± 6 years; range, 4-31). Most patients suffered from hypothyroidism of unknown etiology (85%), whereas the rest had hypothyroidism after surgical/iodine ablation of the gland. In the hypothyroid versus the euthyroid state, a significant negative correlation was found between thyroid-stimulating hormone blood levels and both functional and synthetic liver function tests (p < 0.001). A significant negative correlation was also found between thyroid-stimulating hormone blood levels and clinical deterioration manifested as bleeding varices, the development of ascites, and episodes of encephalopathy. We conclude that in patients with liver cirrhosis, the liver function in the hypothyroid state tend to be better than in the euthyroid state. A mild controlled decreased thyroid function may be beneficial for euthyroid cirrhotic patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)339-341
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of Clinical Gastroenterology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1998
Externally publishedYes


  • Cirrhosis
  • Hypothyroidism


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