Background: Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death and the primary cause of long-term adult disability in the United States. Increasing evidence suggests that low T3 levels immediately following acute ischemic stroke are associated with greater stroke severity, higher mortality rates, and poorer functional outcomes. Prognosis is also poor in critically ill hospitalized patients who have non-thyroidal illness syndrome (NTIS), where T3 levels are low, but TSH is normal. However, data regarding the association between TSH levels and functional outcomes are contradictory. Thus, this study investigated the role of TSH on stroke outcomes, concomitantly with T3 and T4. Findings: In this work, blood was collected from patients with radiologically confirmed acute ischemic stroke at 24±6 hours post-symptom onset and serum levels of TSH, free T3, and free T4 were measured. Stroke outcomes were measured at discharge, 3 and 12 months using the modified Rankin scale and modified Barthel Index as markers of disability. Though we found that lower levels of free T3 were associated with worse prognosis at hospital discharge, and at 3 and 12 months post-stroke, none of these outcomes held after multivariate analysis. Thus, it is likely that thyroid hormones are associated with other factors that impact stroke outcomes, such as sex, age and stroke etiology. Conclusions: This study found that lower levels of free T3 were associated with poorer outcomes at hospital discharge, and at 3 and 12 months post stroke, however, these associations diminished after correction for other known predictors of stroke outcome. Thyroid hormones have a complex relationship with ischemic stroke and stroke recovery, which merits further larger investigations.
O’Keefe, L. M., Conway, S. E., Czap, A., Malchoff, C. D., Benashski, S., Fortunato, G., … McCullough, L. D. (2015). Thyroid hormones and functional outcomes after ischemic stroke. Thyroid Research, 8(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s13044-015-0021-7