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BACKGROUND: Subclinical hypothyroidism has been associated with heart failure, but only small trials assessed whether treatment with levothyroxine has an impact on cardiac function. METHODS: In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, trial nested within the TRUST trial, Swiss participants ages ≥65 years with subclinical hypothyroidism (thyroid-stimulating hormone [TSH] 4.60-19.99 mIU/L; free thyroxine level within reference range) were randomized to levothyroxine (starting dose of 50 µg daily) to achieve TSH normalization or placebo. The primary outcomes were the left ventricular ejection fraction for systolic function and the ratio between mitral peak velocity of early filling to early diastolic mitral annular velocity (E/e' ratio) for diastolic function. Secondary outcomes included e' lateral/septal, left atrial volume index, and systolic pulmonary artery pressure. RESULTS: A total of 185 participants (mean age 74.1 years, 47% women) underwent echocardiography at the end of the trial. After a median treatment duration of 18.4 months, the mean TSH decreased from 6.35 mIU/L to 3.55 mIU/L with levothyroxine (n = 96), and it remained elevated at 5.29 mIU/L with placebo (n = 89). The adjusted between-group difference was not significant for the mean left ventricular ejection fraction (62.7% vs 62.5%, difference = 0.4%, 95% confidence interval -1.8% to 2.5%, P = 0.72) and the E/e' ratio (10.6 vs 10.1, difference 0.4, 95% confidence interval -0.7 to 1.4, P = 0.47). No differences were found for the secondary diastolic function parameters or for interaction according to sex, baseline TSH, preexisting heart failure, and treatment duration (P value >0.05). CONCLUSION: Systolic and diastolic heart function did not differ after treatment with levothyroxine compared with placebo in older adults with mild subclinical hypothyroidism.

Original publication




Journal article


Am J Med

Publication Date





848 - 856.e5


Clinical trials, Heart failure, Levothyroxine, Subclinical hypothyroidism, Thyroid, Aged, Diastole, Dose-Response Relationship, Drug, Double-Blind Method, Echocardiography, Female, Heart Failure, Heart Ventricles, Humans, Hypothyroidism, Male, Prognosis, Stroke Volume, Systole, Thyroxine, Ventricular Function, Left