Thyroid and COVID-19: a review on pathophysiological, clinical and organizational aspects.J Endocrinol Invest. 2021 Sep; 44(9):1801-1814.JE
Thyroid dysfunction has been observed in patients with COVID-19, and endocrinologists are requested to understand this clinical issue. Pandemic-related restrictions and reorganization of healthcare services may affect thyroid disease management.
OBJECTIVE AND METHODS
To analyze and discuss the relationship between COVID-19 and thyroid diseases from several perspectives. PubMed/MEDLINE, Google Scholar, Scopus, ClinicalTrial.gov were searched for this purpose by using free text words and medical subject headings as follows: "sars cov 2", "covid 19", "subacute thyroiditis", "atypical thyroiditis", "chronic thyroiditis", "hashimoto's thyroiditis", "graves' disease", "thyroid nodule", "differentiated thyroid cancer", "medullary thyroid cancer", "methimazole", "levothyroxine", "multikinase inhibitor", "remdesivir", "tocilizumab". Data were collected, analyzed, and discussed to answer the following clinical questions: "What evidence suggests that COVID-19 may induce detrimental consequences on thyroid function?"; "Could previous or concomitant thyroid diseases deteriorate the prognosis of COVID-19 once the infection has occurred?"; "Could medical management of thyroid diseases influence the clinical course of COVID-19?"; "Does medical management of COVID-19 interfere with thyroid function?"; "Are there defined strategies to better manage endocrine diseases despite restrictive measures and in-hospital and ambulatory activities reorganizations?".
SARS-CoV-2 may induce thyroid dysfunction that is usually reversible, including subclinical and atypical thyroiditis. Patients with baseline thyroid diseases are not at higher risk of contracting or transmitting SARS-CoV-2, and baseline thyroid dysfunction does not foster a worse progression of COVID-19. However, it is unclear whether low levels of free triiodothyronine, observed in seriously ill patients with COVID-19, may worsen the disease's clinical progression and, consequently, if triiodothyronine supplementation could be a tool for reducing this burden. Glucocorticoids and heparin may affect thyroid hormone secretion and measurement, respectively, leading to possible misdiagnosis of thyroid dysfunction in severe cases of COVID-19. High-risk thyroid nodules require a fine-needle aspiration without relevant delay, whereas other non-urgent diagnostic procedures and therapeutic interventions should be postponed.
Currently, we know that SARS-CoV-2 could lead to short-term and reversible thyroid dysfunction, but thyroid diseases seem not to affect the progression of COVID-19. Adequate management of patients with thyroid diseases remains essential during the pandemic, but it could be compromised because of healthcare service restrictions. Endocrine care centers should continuously recognize and classify priority cases for in-person visits and therapeutic procedures. Telemedicine may be a useful tool for managing patients not requiring in-person visits.