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Wing Sun Chow 1 Article
Insights from a Prospective Follow-up of Thyroid Function and Autoimmunity among COVID-19 Survivors
David Tak Wai Lui, Chi Ho Lee, Wing Sun Chow, Alan Chun Hong Lee, Anthony Raymond Tam, Carol Ho Yi Fong, Chun Yiu Law, Eunice Ka Hong Leung, Kelvin Kai Wang To, Kathryn Choon Beng Tan, Yu Cho Woo, Ching Wan Lam, Ivan Fan Ngai Hung, Karen Siu Ling Lam
Endocrinol Metab. 2021;36(3):582-589.   Published online June 8, 2021
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AbstractAbstract PDFPubReader   ePub   
The occurrence of Graves’ disease and Hashimoto thyroiditis after coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) raised concerns that severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) may trigger thyroid autoimmunity. We aimed to address the current uncertainties regarding incident thyroid dysfunction and autoimmunity among COVID-19 survivors.
We included consecutive adult COVID-19 patients without known thyroid disorders, who were admitted to Queen Mary Hospital from July 21 to September 21, 2020 and had serum levels of thyroid-stimulating hormone, free thyroxine, free triiodothyronine (fT3), and anti-thyroid antibodies measured both on admission and at 3 months.
In total, 122 patients were included. Among 20 patients with abnormal thyroid function tests (TFTs) on admission (mostly low fT3), 15 recovered. Among 102 patients with initial normal TFTs, two had new-onset abnormalities that could represent different phases of thyroiditis. Among 104 patients whose anti-thyroid antibody titers were reassessed, we observed increases in anti-thyroid peroxidase (TPO) (P<0.001) and anti-thyroglobulin (P<0.001), but not anti-thyroid stimulating hormone receptor titers (P=0.486). Of 82 patients with negative anti-TPO findings at baseline, 16 had a significant interval increase in anti-TPO titer by >12 U, and four became anti-TPO-positive. Worse baseline clinical severity (P=0.018), elevated C-reactive protein during hospitalization (P=0.033), and higher baseline anti-TPO titer (P=0.005) were associated with a significant increase in anti-TPO titer.
Most patients with thyroid dysfunction on admission recovered during convalescence. Abnormal TFTs suggestive of thyroiditis occurred during convalescence, but infrequently. Importantly, our novel observation of an increase in anti-thyroid antibody titers post-COVID-19 warrants further follow-up for incident thyroid dysfunction among COVID-19 survivors.


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