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Open AccessArticle

Age- and Sex-Specific TSH Upper-Limit Reference Intervals in the General French Population: There Is a Need to Adjust Our Actual Practices

Hospices Civils de Lyon, LBMMS, Service de Biochimie, Laboratoire d’Hormonologie, Groupement hospitalier Est, F-69677 Bron cedex, France
Hospices Civils de Lyon, Service de Biostatistique, F-69003 Lyon, France
Hospices Civils de Lyon, Fédération d’Endocrinologie, Groupement Hospitalier Est, F-69677 Bron cedex, France
Univ Lyon, Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1, Faculté de Médecine Lyon Est, F-69008 Lyon, France
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
J. Clin. Med. 2020, 9(3), 792;
Received: 27 February 2020 / Accepted: 12 March 2020 / Published: 14 March 2020
(This article belongs to the Section Endocrinology & Metabolism)
It is well known that thyroid dysfunction increases with age. This study is aimed to determine reference intervals, in males and females, suitable for thyroid disease exploration during adult life using routinely collected serum thyrotropin (TSH) data in a tertiary center from 2007 to 2018. Over 11 years, 295,775 TSH levels were measured in a single lab. Among the 156,025 TSH results available for analysis, 90,538 values were from female subjects, 82,019 were from patients aged >60 years and 26,825 were from patients aged >80 years. By using an indirect approach, we determined reference values of TSH adapted to age and sex, and we then evaluated the proportion of patients who would have been reclassified with these reference values. The median TSH ranged from 1.2–1.4 mUI/L during the study period. The upper limit of reference range of TSH increased with age; in females the median to 97.5th percentile values increased continuously from the age of 30 years to the oldest age group. Using new calculated reference values in patients with TSH above the conventional upper-limit reference value (4 mUI/L), the proportion of results reclassified as within the reference interval among patients aged >60 years ranged, according to age group, from 50.5% to 65.1% of females and from 33.0% to 37.7% of males. The use of TSH age-specific and sex-specific upper-limit reference values led to the reclassification of a great number of samples, notably among women. This suggests that age-specific TSH upper-limit reference intervals in daily practice should be used in order to avoid misclassification. View Full-Text
Keywords: TSH; elderly; sex; age; reference intervals; hypothyroidism TSH; elderly; sex; age; reference intervals; hypothyroidism
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Raverot, V.; Bonjour, M.; Abeillon du Payrat, J.; Perrin, P.; Roucher-Boulez, F.; Lasolle, H.; Subtil, F.; Borson-Chazot, F. Age- and Sex-Specific TSH Upper-Limit Reference Intervals in the General French Population: There Is a Need to Adjust Our Actual Practices. J. Clin. Med. 2020, 9, 792.

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