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Joke Marlier, Guy T’Sjoen, Jean Kaufman, and Bruno Lapauw


Thyroid hormone replacement in central hypothyroidism (CHT) is more difficult than in primary hypothyroidism (PHT), putting patients at risk for inappropriate substitution. In this study, we compared the dosage of thyroid hormone replacement in patients with CHT with that of patients with PHT. In addition, we explored and compared quality of life (QoL) between both groups, based on two questionnaires, the SF-36 health score and the thyroid-specific ThyPRO score.


This is a monocentric, cross-sectional study, performed at the Ghent University Hospital (Belgium). We included 82 patients in total, 41 patients with CHT and 41 patients with PHT. At the time of inclusion, all patients had to have a stable dose of levothyroxine over the past 6 months and patients with PHT needed to be euthyroid (defined as having a thyroid-stimulating hormone level within the reference range, 0.2–4.5 mU/L). All data were retrieved from medical files, and questionnaires on QoL were self-administered.


The CHT and PHT groups were comparable regarding age and BMI. There was no significant difference between both groups regarding total daily dose of levothyroxine (100 (93.75–125.00) vs 107.14 (75.00–133.93) μg in CHT and PHT, respectively; P = 0.87) or daily dose of levothyroxine per kg body weight (1.34 (1.16–1.55) vs 1.55 (1.16–1.82) μg/kg, respectively; P = 0.13). Serum levels of fT4 (P = 0.20) and fT3 (P = 0.10) also did not differ between the two groups and both were in the normal (mid)range for the two groups. Regarding QoL, patients with CHT scored worse in terms of depressive and emotional symptoms, impaired daily and social life.


We could demonstrate a difference in QoL between patients with CHT and PHT. Although patients with CHT had a somewhat lower levothyroxine substitution dose than patients with PHT, this difference was also not significant and probably does not explain the difference in QoL.