Subclinical Thyroid Dysfunction and Fracture Risk: A Meta-analysis

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

  • Manuel R Blum
  • Douglas C Bauer
  • Tinh-Hai Collet
  • Howard A Fink
  • Anne R Cappola
  • Bruno R da Costa
  • Christina D Wirth
  • Robin P Peeters
  • Bjørn O Åsvold
  • Wendy P J den Elzen
  • Robert N Luben
  • Misa Imaizumi
  • Alexandra P Bremner
  • Apostolos Gogakos
  • Richard Eastell
  • Patricia M Kearney
  • Elsa S Strotmeyer
  • Erin R Wallace
  • Mari Hoff
  • Graziano Ceresini
  • Fernando Rivadeneira
  • André G Uitterlinden
  • David J Stott
  • Westendorp, Rudi GJ
  • Kay-Tee Khaw
  • Arnuf Langhammer
  • Luigi Ferrucci
  • Jacobijn Gussekloo
  • Graham R Williams
  • John P Walsh
  • Peter Jüni
  • Drahomir Aujesky
  • Nicolas Rodondi
  • Thyroid Studies Collaboration

IMPORTANCE: Associations between subclinical thyroid dysfunction and fractures are unclear and clinical trials are lacking.

OBJECTIVE: To assess the association of subclinical thyroid dysfunction with hip, nonspine, spine, or any fractures.

DATA SOURCES AND STUDY SELECTION: The databases of MEDLINE and EMBASE (inception to March 26, 2015) were searched without language restrictions for prospective cohort studies with thyroid function data and subsequent fractures.

DATA EXTRACTION: Individual participant data were obtained from 13 prospective cohorts in the United States, Europe, Australia, and Japan. Levels of thyroid function were defined as euthyroidism (thyroid-stimulating hormone [TSH], 0.45-4.49 mIU/L), subclinical hyperthyroidism (TSH <0.45 mIU/L), and subclinical hypothyroidism (TSH ≥4.50-19.99 mIU/L) with normal thyroxine concentrations.

MAIN OUTCOME AND MEASURES: The primary outcome was hip fracture. Any fractures, nonspine fractures, and clinical spine fractures were secondary outcomes.

RESULTS: Among 70,298 participants, 4092 (5.8%) had subclinical hypothyroidism and 2219 (3.2%) had subclinical hyperthyroidism. During 762,401 person-years of follow-up, hip fracture occurred in 2975 participants (4.6%; 12 studies), any fracture in 2528 participants (9.0%; 8 studies), nonspine fracture in 2018 participants (8.4%; 8 studies), and spine fracture in 296 participants (1.3%; 6 studies). In age- and sex-adjusted analyses, the hazard ratio (HR) for subclinical hyperthyroidism vs euthyroidism was 1.36 for hip fracture (95% CI, 1.13-1.64; 146 events in 2082 participants vs 2534 in 56,471); for any fracture, HR was 1.28 (95% CI, 1.06-1.53; 121 events in 888 participants vs 2203 in 25,901); for nonspine fracture, HR was 1.16 (95% CI, 0.95-1.41; 107 events in 946 participants vs 1745 in 21,722); and for spine fracture, HR was 1.51 (95% CI, 0.93-2.45; 17 events in 732 participants vs 255 in 20,328). Lower TSH was associated with higher fracture rates: for TSH of less than 0.10 mIU/L, HR was 1.61 for hip fracture (95% CI, 1.21-2.15; 47 events in 510 participants); for any fracture, HR was 1.98 (95% CI, 1.41-2.78; 44 events in 212 participants); for nonspine fracture, HR was 1.61 (95% CI, 0.96-2.71; 32 events in 185 participants); and for spine fracture, HR was 3.57 (95% CI, 1.88-6.78; 8 events in 162 participants). Risks were similar after adjustment for other fracture risk factors. Endogenous subclinical hyperthyroidism (excluding thyroid medication users) was associated with HRs of 1.52 (95% CI, 1.19-1.93) for hip fracture, 1.42 (95% CI, 1.16-1.74) for any fracture, and 1.74 (95% CI, 1.01-2.99) for spine fracture. No association was found between subclinical hypothyroidism and fracture risk.

CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: Subclinical hyperthyroidism was associated with an increased risk of hip and other fractures, particularly among those with TSH levels of less than 0.10 mIU/L and those with endogenous subclinical hyperthyroidism. Further study is needed to determine whether treating subclinical hyperthyroidism can prevent fractures.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJ A M A: The Journal of the American Medical Association
Issue number20
Pages (from-to)2055-65
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 26 May 2015

ID: 140392580