Maximum dose rate is a determinant of hypothyroidism after 131I therapy of Graves' disease but the total thyroid absorbed dose is not

Thomas Krohn, Heribert Hänscheid, Berthold Müller, Florian F Behrendt, Alexander Heinzel, Felix M Mottaghy, Frederik A Verburg*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


CONTEXT: The determinants of successful (131)I therapy of Graves' disease (GD) are unclear.

OBJECTIVE: To relate dosimetry parameters to outcome of therapy to identify significant determinants eu- and/or hypothyroidism after (131)I therapy in patients with GD.

SETTING AND DESIGN: A retrospective study in which 206 Patients with GD treated in University Hospital between November 1999 and January 2011. All received (131)I therapy aiming at a total absorbed dose to the thyroid of 250 Gy based on pre-therapeutic dosimetry. Post-therapy dosimetric thyroid measurements were performed twice daily until discharge. From these measurements, thyroid (131)I half-life, the total thyroid absorbed dose, and the maximum dose rate after (131)I administration were calculated.

RESULTS: In all, 48.5% of patients were hypothyroid and 28.6% of patients were euthyroid after (131)I therapy. In univariate analysis, nonhyperthyroid and hyperthyroid patients only differed by sex. A lower thyroid mass, a higher activity per gram thyroid tissue, a shorter effective thyroidal (131)I half-life, and a higher maximum dose rate, but not the total thyroid absorbed dose, were significantly associated with hypothyroidism. In multivariate analysis, the maximum dose rate remained the only significant determinant of hypothyroidism (P < .001). Maximum dose rates of 2.2 Gy/h and higher were associated with a 100% hypothyroidism rate.

CONCLUSIONS: Not the total thyroid absorbed dose, but the maximum dose rate is a determinant of successfully achieving hypothyroidism in Graves' disease. Dosimetric concepts aiming at a specific total thyroid absorbed dose will therefore require reconsideration if our data are confirmed prospectively.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4109-4115
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2014


  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Graves Disease
  • Humans
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Iodine Radioisotopes
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Radiopharmaceuticals
  • Radiotherapy Dosage
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Thyroid Gland
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome


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