Effects of rehabilitation treatment on thyroid function

Irene Aprile, Federica Romitelli, Diana Barbara Piazzini, Luca Padua, Stefano Lancellotti, Loredana Maggi, Cecilia Zuppi, Carlo Bertolini, Enrico Di Stasio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective The aim of the study was to evaluate the effects of an intensive rehabilitation programme on thyroid metabolism, the relationship between disability and thyroid hormone level, and the occurrence of nonthyroidal illness syndrome (NTIS) before and after rehabilitation. Design, subjects and measurements This was a clinical prospective study. Orthopaedic surgery patients (n = 82) were classified into two groups: patients in whom early active mobilization and walking were possible (walking group, WG, n = 45), and patients in whom these were not recommended (nonwalking group, NWG, n = 37). Levels of free T3 (fT3), fT4, TSH and rT3 were measured before and after surgery, and then at 1, 3, 7, 14 and 30 days from the beginning of rehabilitation. Personal, nutritional and clinical data were acquired for all patients. The Barthel Index (BI) was used to assess disability before and after rehabilitation. Results Immediately after surgery, both groups of patients showed a significant decrease in mean fT3 concentrations and a significant increase in rT3; mean fT4 values decreased significantly only in NWG patients. Once rehabilitation had been completed, fT3 and rT3 levels returned to baseline values in WG patients. In NWG patients mean fT3 and fT4 levels continued to decrease significantly and rT3 values remained significantly high until the end of rehabilitation. NTIS occurred in 38% of the NWG patients. No significant changes in TSH levels were observed in either group. Finally, we observed a direct correlation between fT3 levels and the BI in WG patients. Conclusions Our data suggest that early patient mobilization and physical activity during an active and intensive rehabilitation programme induce recovery of thyroid function and avoid occurrence of NTIS.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)644-649
Number of pages6
JournalClinical Endocrinology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism


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