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Thyroid UK
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Help and advice on T3 levels please

Dear all, I am very very sorry to tell you that I lost my husband last week. Although he had terminal cancer It was very sudden.

He also had hypothyroidism caused by some cancer treatment. A few months ago he became very anemic. They blamed it on using ibropen and possible stomach ulcer??? Over a good few months he had been getting weaker and weaker. The doctors and endocrinologist put it down to the cancer and anaemia. Due to the lack of energy he was not able to walk or move and eventually contacted cellulitis.

By accident I found out that hypothyroidism can cause anemia. At which stage I pushed for some thyroid function tests.


Plasma tsh level 0.05mU/L normal 0.30-4.20mU/L

Plasma free t4 level 11.4pmol/L Normal 9.00-19.00pmol/L

Plasma free t3 level <1.5pmol/L Normal 2.60-5.70pmol/L

Based on these test results he was prescribed 20 mg thyronine and increase levythxroxine by 25 mg he would now be on 150 mg. He only managed to take these for two day before he died.

He had appointment with the endocrinologist twice whilst he was feeling bad and the dr never ever suggested taking any t3 tests. He did TSH and free thyroxine??? As below but at this stage I was not aware what it meant.


TSH 0.02

Free thyroxine 12pmol/L

I am now questioning why he died and have suggested that the lack of t3 in his system could have significantly contributed to his death. They want to put down heart attack but I am not happy. Apart from his continuing severe sever fatigue he was a healthy man. I have managed to persuade them to do a full post mortem, although they have indicated that his thyroid levels would not show anyway.

I have various other concerns about the cancer too so the post mortem should be useful in that respect.

I feel they have let us down significantly and was interested if anyone else can shed any light on this or make any suggestions.

He was the most most amazing man and I owe it to him to see if there was any wrong doings. At the moment I am blaming myself for not taking care of him properly and should have picked up on this.

Thank you all

5 Replies

First of all, my condolences on the loss of your dear husband. It has been a very difficult time for you and your family. I know, too, you want answers as to what really was the reason for his demise.

You are correct his FT3 was below range. One of our doctors, now deceased tried to have a Conference with all Endocrinologists (he was a Virologist) as he believed the situation was now parlous for all who were diagnosed by a blood test only as many people were passed by due only to the whereabouts of the TSH, whereas who were trained in his era all know clinical symptoms inside out.

His B12 may have been below range as well and that, too, can cause symptoms/anaemia.


It is advised that we have a B12 level towards 1,000. If it is below 500 changes can occur in the spinal column.

This is a link re low T3 and excerpt and then link:

Low T3 Syndrome in acute and chronic illness

Most of the studies on Low T3 Syndrome have been done on people suffering from acute, life-threatening illness. In the intensive care unit, the prevalence of abnormal thyroid function tests is remarkably high. More than 70% of patients show low T3 and around 50% have low T4.

Many of these studies have indicated a direct relationship between Low T3 Syndrome the severity and both short- and long-term outcome of disease. The lower the T3 level in critically ill patients, the worse the outcome tends to be.

However, studies examining thyroid hormone replacement in these situations have shown mixed results. In most cases – with the exception of cardiovascular disease – taking thyroid hormone did not improve outcomes. We’ll discuss this in more detail later.

Recently, more attention has been given to Low T3 Syndrome in non-critical, chronic illness. Specifically, the question on everyone’s mind (including mine) is whether thyroid hormone replacement is useful in this situation, or if – as some have suggested – it could even be harmful.



I'm so sorry to hear what you're going through. Try not to blame yourself though whatever the outcome of the post mortem. Everyone does the best they can with the knowledge they have so try to be kinder to yourself now. Xx


I am so sorry for your loss.

Good for you in trying to find an answer for your dear husband.

1 like

Take good care of YOU now .... Finding answers can sometimes help with the grieving process as you feel you are doing something positive. I think I would be the same as you ....

1 like

So very sorry for your loss . But as Marz says now it's time to take care of yourself .

Best wishes .


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