Patients with Turner syndrome (TS) frequently exhibit transient, recurrent and asymptomatic variations of TSH and/or thyroid hormones (TH). This work was carried out to evaluate thyroid function and structure in patients with TS who had had such variations in hormone concentrations. Our sample comprised 24 patients, 17 less than 20-years old. Evaluation included serum levels of TSH, free T4, total T3, TPO and Tg autoantibodies, thyroid ultrasound (US) and scintigraphy with 99mTc-pertechnetate. Thirteen patients had abnormal TSH and/or TH levels; 23 exhibited US features compatible with chronic thyroid disorder, particularly thyromegaly (established according to volume expected for stature) and heterogeneous echogenicity. Uptake was normal in 21 cases and tracer distribution was homogeneous in 22. The finding of abnormal hormone concentrations was independent of age, length of time since the first similar finding, thyroid autoantibodies, number of abnormalities at US and abnormal scintigraphic findings. Patients aged more than 20 years had higher frequency of thyroid antibodies and heterogeneous echogenicity, and thyroid volume was significantly correlated to length of time since detection of the first hormone variation, indicating progressive thyroid disease. These results suggest that subclinical thyroid dysfunction in TS is due to chronic autoimmune thyroid disease.
Turner syndrome; Autoimmune thyroid disease; Ultrasonography; Scintigraphy