Update on the Sick Euthyroid Syndrome

  • Jan R. Stockigt
Part of the Contemporary Endocrinology book series (COE, volume 2)


The term “sick euthyroid syndrome” describes characteristic hormonal changes that occur during systemic illness in the absence of intrinsic thyroid disease. In the sense of being a disease entity or a symptom complex, it is not a “syndrome” at all (1).The uniform responses that result from a wide range of inflammatory, infective, traumatic, neoplastic, and nutritional disturbances, appear to be mediated by common mechanisms or pathways, rather than any specific disease process. The severity and duration of the illness, and not its precise nature, determines the pattern of progressive thyroid hormone changes, summarized in Fig. 1. So general are the thyroid hormone responses to illness that attempts have been made to use them as prognostic indicators, either alone, or in association with other hormonal alterations (2–4).


Thyroid Hormone Caloric Restriction Critical Illness Thyroid Dysfunction Thyroid Hormone Action 
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