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Ittermann, Till; Lorbeer, Roberto; Dörr, Marcus; Schneider, Tobias; Quadrat, Alexander; Heßelbarth, Lydia; Wenzel, Michael; Lehmphul, Ina; Köhrle, Josef; Mensel, Birger and Völzke, Henry (2016): High levels of thyroid-stimulating hormone are associated with aortic wall thickness in the general population. In: European Radiology, Vol. 26, No. 12: pp. 4490-4496

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Our aim was to investigate the association of thyroid function defined by serum concentrations of thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) with thoracic aortic wall thickness (AWT) as a marker of atherosclerotic processes. We pooled data of 2,679 individuals from two independent population-based surveys of the Study of Health in Pomerania. Aortic diameter and AWT measurements were performed on a 1.5-T MRI scanner at the concentration of the right pulmonary artery displaying the ascending and the descending aorta. TSH, treated as continuous variable, was significantly associated with descending AWT (beta = 0.11;95 % confidence interval (CI) 0.02-0.21), while the association with ascending AWT was not statistically significant (beta = 0.20;95 % CI -0.01-0.21). High TSH (> 3.29 mIU/L) was significantly associated with ascending (beta = 0.12;95 % CI 0.02-0.23) but not with descending AWT (beta = 0.06;95 % CI -0.04-0.16). There was no consistent association between TSH and aortic diameters. Our study demonstrated that AWT values increase with increasing serum TSH concentrations. Thus, a hypothyroid state may be indicative for aortic atherosclerosis. These results fit very well to the findings of previous studies pointing towards increased atherosclerotic risk in the hypothyroid state. aEuro cent Serum TSH concentrations are positively associated with aortic wall thickness. aEuro cent Serum TSH concentrations are not associated with the aortic diameters. aEuro cent Serum 3,5-diiodothyronine concentrations may be positively associated with aortic wall thickness.

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