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Echocardiographic assessment of left ventricular function in thyrotoxicosis and implications for the therapeutics of thyrotoxic cardiac disease

Authors Anakwue R, Onwubere B, Ikeh V, Anisiuba B, Ike S, Anakwue A

Received 2 June 2014

Accepted for publication 20 September 2014

Published 5 February 2015 Volume 2015:11 Pages 189—200


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 4

Editor who approved publication: Professor Garry Walsh

Raphael C Anakwue,1,2 Basden J Onwubere,2 Vincent Ikeh,2 Benedict Anisiuba,2 Samuel Ike,2 Angel-Mary C Anakwue3

1Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, 2Department of Medicine, 3Department of Radiography and Radiological Sciences, Imaging Unit, College of Medicine, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Enugu State, Nigeria

Introduction: Thyrotoxicosis is an endocrine disorder with prominent cardiovascular manifestations. Thyroid hormone acts through genomic and non-genomic mechanisms to regulate cardiac function. Echocardiography is a useful, non-invasive, easily accessible, and affordable tool for studying the structural and physiological function of the heart.
Aim: We studied thyrotoxicosis patients in a Nigerian Teaching Hospital and employed trans-thoracic echocardiography to find out if there were abnormalities in the hearts of these patients.
Methods: Fifty adult thyrotoxicosis patients diagnosed with clinical and thyroid function tests in the medical out-patient unit of the hospital were recruited and we performed transthoracic echocardiography with a Sonos 2000 HP machine.
Results: We documented the presence of abnormalities in the following proportion of thyrotoxicosis patients: left ventricular enhanced systolic function in 30%, enhanced diastolic function in 34%, diastolic dysfunction in 34%, heart failure with preserved ejection fraction in10%, heart failure with reduced ejection fraction in 6%, and left ventricular hypertrophy in 34%.
Conclusion: Echocardiography was useful in the stratification of cardiac function abnormalities and is indispensable as a guide in the choice of therapeutic options in patients with thyrocardiac disease. The finding of left ventricular enhanced systolic and diastolic functions signify early echocardiographic detectable cardiac abnormalities in thyrotoxicosis, and the clinical management includes the use of anti-thyroid drugs and ß-adrenoceptor blockade. Diastolic dysfunction in thyrotoxicosis patients asymptomatic for cardiac disease should be treated with anti-thyroid drugs, and ß-adrenoceptor blockade. The judicious application of clinical therapeutics will guide the use of anti-thyroid drugs, diuretics, digoxin, angiotensin inhibitors, and ß-adrenoceptor blockade in the successful management of thyrotoxicosis patients with heart failure and reduced, preserved, or increased ejection fraction: parameters which are derived from echocardiography.

Keywords: thyrotoxicosis, left ventricle, echocardiography, therapeutics, thyrocardiac disease

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