The potential impact of COVID-19 on thyroid gland volumes among COVID-19 survivors

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Urhan E., Karaca Z., Kara C. S., Yuce Z. T., ÜNLÜHİZARCI K.

Endocrine, vol.76, no.3, pp.635-641, 2022 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 76 Issue: 3
  • Publication Date: 2022
  • Doi Number: 10.1007/s12020-022-03019-6
  • Journal Name: Endocrine
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, BIOSIS, CAB Abstracts, Chemical Abstracts Core, EMBASE, MEDLINE, Veterinary Science Database
  • Page Numbers: pp.635-641
  • Keywords: COVID-19, Thyroid gland volume, Thyroid function tests, SARS-CoV-2
  • Kayseri University Affiliated: No


© 2022, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature.Purpose: Data about the effects of COVID-19 on the endocrine system are increasing over time. In the present study, we investigated the effects of COVID-19 on the thyroid gland among COVID-19 survivors by comparing them with healthy subjects. Methods: Adult COVID-19 survivors who were managed and followed up in the Infectious Disease clinic were asked to participate in this study. COVID-19 survivors were recruited via a convenience sampling and those who agreed to participate in this study were seen by endocrinologists for assessments. The blood tests were obtained for thyroid antibodies and thyroid function tests. Thyroid ultrasonography (USG) was done by the same physician. The ellipsoid formula was used for the calculation of thyroid gland volume. Results: 64 adult COVID-19 survivors and 70 control subjects were enrolled in the study. The COVID-19 survivors were evaluated at median 5.7 months (IQR: 4–6.5) (range: 2–7 months) after acute infection. The mean thyroid gland volume was significantly lower in COVID-19 survivors (10.3 ± 3.4 mL) than in the controls (14 ± 5.3 mL) (p = 0.001). There was no significant difference in free triiodothyronine (fT3), free thyroxine (fT4) and thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) levels between the groups. Among the twelve patients who had thyroid function evaluated in acute COVID-19, fT3 values were lower in acute COVID-19 than at the time of USG evaluation (3.04 ± 0.41 vs 3.47 ± 0.31 pg/mL), (p = 0.02). Among COVID-19 survivors, mild TSH elevation was detected in 4 (6.2%) patients and all of the other COVID-19 survivors (93.7%) were euthyroid. Conclusions: At 6 months after acute COVID, COVID-19 survivors had smaller thyroid gland volume than healthy controls, and only a few of the COVID-19 survivors had abnormal thyroid function.