• Thyroid function was evaluated In cardiac arrest (CA), a condition associated with marked activation of the pituitary-adrenal axis. Blood samples were obtained in 24 patients immediately after diagnosis of CA and again ten minutes later. Samples were also obtained from 22 patients admitted consecutively to the intensive care unit (ICU). Abnormalities of thyroid indexes among patients on the ICU who had not experienced CA were low triiodothyronine (T3) in 45%, low thyroxine (T4) in 32%, low free T4 (equilibrium dialysis) in 21%, and elevated reverse T3 levels in 36%. The alterations of thyroid values were both more common and marked in patients with CA, with abnormally low T3 in 84% of the patients, low T4 in 65%, low free T4 in 65%, and high reverse T3 in 80%. Thyroxine-binding globulin and prealbumin concentrations were below the normal range in 40% and 21% of patients with CA. A thyroid hormone-binding inhibitor was detected in 38% of patients with CA. Thyroglobulin level was slightly high in patients with CA but not significantly different from controls on the ICU. The abnormalities present at zero minutes were further exaggerated ten minutes after CA. We conclude that abnormalities on tests measuring thyroid function are extremely common during the cardiovascular emergency of CA.
(Arch Intern Med 1987;147:245-248)