(HealthDay News) – Abnormal thyroid function test results detected in elderly patients during hospitalization are significantly related to poorer prognosis, according to research published online Oct. 30 in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

In an effort to assess the association between thyroid function test results and mortality, Pedro Iglesias, MD, of the Hospital Ramón y Cajal in Madrid, and colleagues conducted a seven-year prospective observational study of 404 patients, older than 65 years, who were admitted to the hospital.

The researchers found that median survival time for all-cause mortality was significantly lower in patients with altered thyroid function, including those in the first tertiles for serum free triiodothyronine (T3), thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), and serum free thyroxine. Patients in the first tertiles for TSH and serum free T3 had significantly higher mortality caused by cardiovascular disease. Further analysis identified low serum free T3 level as a significant predictor of increased risk for all-cause and cardiovascular mortality.

“T3 could be a useful measure for gauging an older individual’s chances of surviving an acute illness requiring hospitalization,” Iglesias said in a statement.

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