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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Ventilatory control in myxedema and hypothyroidism.

Alveolar hypoventilation is known to occur in myxedema. To clarify the role of hypoxic ventilatory drive and hypercapnic ventilatory drive in thyroid hormone insufficiency states, 10 patients with myxedema and seven with hypothyroidism (thyroid ablation) were studied before and after thyroid replacement. An index developed for hypoxic ventilatory drive was markedly reduced in myxedema: 17 plus or minus 4.7 (S.E.M.) (normal, 126 plus or minus 8.7) (P smaller than 0.01) and increased to 78 plus or minus 12.6 (p = 0.02) with thyroid hormone replacement. In the hypothyroid group this index was also depressed as compared to normal at 67 plus or minus 20 (p smaller than 0.01) and increased to 114 plus or minus 19 (p smaller than 0.02) with replacement. An index for hypercapnic ventilatory drive was depressed in myxedema, 0.69 plus or minus 0.01), but was not significantly depressed in hypothyroidism. With thyroid hormone replacement this index did not significantly increase in either group. We conclude that both myxedema and hypothyroid states produce depression of hypoxic ventilatory drive that is responsive to replacement therapy. This alteration in ventilatory control may contribute to the hypoventilation seen in myxedema.[1]


  1. Ventilatory control in myxedema and hypothyroidism. Zwillich, C.W., Pierson, D.J., Hofeldt, F.D., Lufkin, E.G., Weil, J.V. N. Engl. J. Med. (1975) [Pubmed]
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