14 August 2014 : Original article
Med Sci Monit 2014; 20:1432-1441
BACKGROUND: Previous studies yielded controversial results about the alteration of lipid profiles in patients with subclinical hypothyroidism. We performed a meta-analysis to investigate the association between subclinical hypothyroidism and lipid profiles.
MATERIAL AND METHODS: We searched PubMed, Cochrane Library, and China National Knowledge Infrastructure articles published January 1990 through January 2014. Dissertation databases (PQDT and CDMD) were searched for additional unpublished articles. We included articles reporting the relationship between subclinical hypothyroidism and at least 1 parameter of lipid profiles, and calculated the overall weighted mean difference (WMD) with a random effects model. Meta-regression was used to explore the source of heterogeneity among studies, and the Egger test, Begg test, and the trim and fill method were used to assess potential publication bias.
RESULTS: Sixteen observational studies were included in our analysis. Meta-analysis suggested that the serum total cholesterol (TC), low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), and total triglyceride levels were significantly increased in patients with subclinical hypothyroidism compared with euthyroidism individuals; the WMD were 12.17 mg/dl, 7.01 mg/dl, and 13.19 mg/dl, respectively (P<0.001 for all). No significant difference was observed for serum high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C). Match strategy was the main source of heterogeneity among studies in TC and LDL-C analysis. Potential publication bias was found in TC and LDL-C analysis by the Egger test or Begg test and was not confirmed by the trim and fill method.
CONCLUSIONS: Subclinical hypothyroidism may correlate with altered lipid profile. Previous studies had limitations in the control of potential confounding factors and further studies should consider those factors.
Keywords: Cholesterol, LDL - blood, Cholesterol - blood, Hypothyroidism - metabolism, Lipids - blood, Observational Study as Topic, Regression Analysis, Triglycerides - blood
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