Study connects thyroid hormone to cardiovascular health

A new study published in the journal Circulation suggests that infants who are undergoing cardiopulmonary bypass surgery may spend less time on a respirator if they receive thyroid supplementation.

Research has shown that T3 levels drop during chronic illness and acute trauma. T3 has been shown to have profound effects on almost every tissue and organ system, including the cardiovascular system. Thus, T3 depletions become important in heart failure.

Michael A. Portman, director of Pediatric Cardiovascular Research at Seattle Children's Hospital, led the study, which involved 193 infants under age two. The children were matched by anomaly and age and then randomized into a treatment or control group. After the surgery, the researchers looked to see how long it was before their breathing tubes were removed.

The results show that there was a significant benefit from supplementation for children under five months old. The mean time to extubation was 98 hours in the placebo group, compared to 55 hours in those treated with T3 before surgery. The time to extubation is a measure that suggests children are doing better and could breathe without a machine assisting them.

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