Thyroid Dysfunction and Atherosclerosis: A Systematic Review.

Journal Article (Systematic Review;Journal Article)


Thyroid dysfunction, both hypo- and hyperthyroidism, has been associated with cardiovascular disease. The aim of this study was to evaluate the association between thyroid dysfunction and atherosclerosis measured mostly by carotid intima-media thickness, as well as discuss whether L-T4 replacement is able to reverse or slow down the progression of atherosclerosis.

Materials and methods

The review was conducted according the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analysis (PRISMA) guidelines. We performed on PubMed a literature search from May 2004 to January 2020, using the search terms 'subclinical hypothyroidism' or 'thyroid disorders' and 'carotid artery', 'carotid intima-media thickness (IMT)', 'levothyroxine', and 'atherosclerosis'.


Twenty-six studies were eligible and included in the analysis. Overall, the studies encompassed a total of 36.434 patients included in this review. Most studies indicated a proportional correlation between IMT and thyroid dysfunction. Levothyroxine (L-T4) replacement led to significant decrease of IMT after 1 year in most studies.


Most studies have concluded that thyroid dysfunction is associated with arterial wall remodeling and, thus, with increased cardiovascular risk. However, the exact mechanistic background of pathological structural changes in the arterial wall is still unsettled. Large randomized controlled studies are required to definitively address the extent to which T4 replacement therapy might benefit patients with subclinical thyroid disorders.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Papadopoulou, A-M; Bakogiannis, N; Skrapari, I; Moris, D; Bakoyiannis, C

Published Date

  • November 2020

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 34 / 6

Start / End Page

  • 3127 - 3136

PubMed ID

  • 33144416

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC7811672

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1791-7549

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0258-851X

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.21873/invivo.12147


  • eng