Investigating Thyroid Function
Full colour PDF of the “Investigating Thyroid Function” POEM.
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Download a powerpoint presentation of the key points.
Why focus on thyroid function tests?
- TSH and FT4 are commonly ordered tests.
- TSH and FT4 (and FT3) are frequently ordered simultaneously as “thyroid function tests”.
- The choice of “thyroid function test” has changed over the last 10-15 years; previously FT4 has been the most popular test, now TSH is favoured.
- It is now possible to make recommendations based on current understanding.
- Asymptomatic patients are not screened for thyroid dysfunction.
- TSH is used as the sole test of thyroid function in most situations.
Why do we make these recommendations?
- Patients with no symptoms of thyroid disease and no obvious risk factors have a low likelihood of thyroid disease.
- In most situations, TSH is the more sensitive indicator of thyroid status. If further thyroid function tests are indicated they can be subsequently added by the laboratory, or the GP usually without the need to retest the patient.
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