Laboratory Tests Necessary at the First Examination of Patients with Suspected Thyroid Disorders
In order to determine what and how many test items are necessary for the initial tests when examining patients with thyroid disorders, a questionnaire was sent to the council members of the Japan Thyroid Association. Thyroid disorders were divided into 4 categories; hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, diffuse goiter, and nodular goiter. The questionnaire was designed to assess: 1) tests routinely ordered at the initial examination; 2) minimum test battery necessary; 3) the 5 most important tests
... t important tests in order; and 4) selection of only 2 tests at most. The data on 112 completed questionnaires were collected and analyzed. When the choice was limited to only 2 tests, TSH and fT4 were commonly selected for hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism and diffuse goiter, but these 2 tests would be insufficient for the differentiation of disorders. In the case of nodular goiter, ultrasonogram and fine needle aspiration biopsy (FNA) were selected. The mean number of routinely ordered tests was 6.62 ± 2.00 (S.D.) for hypothyroidism and 8.06 ± 2.48 for nodular goiter, but many fewer tests were cited as absolutely necessary. In hyperthyroidism, 4.56 ± 1.92 tests were required, in hypothyroidism 4.39 ± 1.92, in diffuse goiter 4.93 ± 1.75, and in nodular goiter 5.15 ± 2.13. Most of the function-related tests, ultrasonogram and autoantibodies were commonly selected, while TBII and thyroid 1231 or 99mTc04 uptake in hyperthyroidism, and FNA, Tg and scintigram in nodular goiter were considered to be for specific purposes. Summarizing all these, the authors propose 5 or 6 tests to be necessary as the initial tests when examining patients with 4 individual thyroid disorders.