Thyroid and Cardiovascular Disease: Research Agenda for Enhancing Knowledge, Prevention, and Treatment
Thyroid hormones have long been known to have a range of effects on the cardiovascular system. However, significant knowledge gaps exist concerning the precise molecular and biochemical mechanisms governing these effects and the optimal strategies for management of abnormalities in thyroid function in patients with and without preexisting cardiovascular disease. In September 2017, The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute convened a Working Group with the goal of developing priorities for future scientific research relating thyroid dysfunction to the progression of cardiovascular disease. The Working Group reviewed and discussed the roles of normal thyroid physiology, the consequences of thyroid dysfunction, and the effects of therapy in three cardiovascular areas: cardiac electrophysiology and arrhythmias, the vasculature and atherosclerosis, and the myocardium and heart failure. This report describes the current state of the field, outlines barriers and challenges to progress, and proposes research opportunities to advance the field, including strategies for leveraging novel approaches using omics and big data. The Working Group recommended research in three broad areas: 1) investigation into the fundamental biology relating thyroid dysfunction to the development of cardiovascular disease and into the identification of novel biomarkers of thyroid hormone action in cardiovascular tissues; 2) studies that define subgroups of patients with thyroid dysfunction amenable to specific preventive strategies and interventional therapies related to cardiovascular disease; and 3) clinical trials focused on improvement in cardiovascular performance and cardiovascular outcomes through treatment with thyroid hormone or thyromimetic drugs.