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      A patient who experienced thyroid storm complicated by rhabdomyolysis, deep vein thrombosis, and a silent pulmonary embolism: a case report

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          Thyroid storm is a serious condition of thyrotoxicosis. Hyperthyroidism often presents with thrombotic events, especially at cerebral sites; however, the possible association between a lower extremity deep vein thrombosis (LEDVT) and thyroid storm has not been previously reported. We encountered a patient who developed thyroid storm, associated with rhabdomyolysis, followed by LEDVT and a small silent pulmonary embolism (PE). The case is discussed with references to the pertinent literature.

          Case presentation

          A 50-year-old woman with no past medical history was referred to our hospital because of severe diarrhea, muscle weakness in her lower limbs (manual muscle testing: MMT 3), and disturbances of consciousness. She was diagnosed as having Graves’ disease based on the presence of struma, exophthalmos, and hyperthyroidism with TSH receptor antibody positivity; we further determined that the patient was experiencing thyroid storm based on the results of the Burch-Wartofsky scoring system and a Japanese diagnostic criteria. Treatment with steroids, iodine potassium, methimazole, and propranolol was initiated. Severe watery diarrhea continued, and the laboratory data revealed hypokalemia (2.0 meq/L). On day 14, a blood analysis showed a sudden elevation in her creatinine kinase (CK) level, leading to a diagnosis of rhabdomyolysis. Thereafter, the muscle weakness in her lower limbs advanced to a degree of MMT 1. Seven days after the diagnosis of rhabdomyolysis, pitting edema began to appear in bilateral lower extremities. Contrast-enhanced CT scans revealed a LEDVT involving the left common iliac vein, bilateral femoral veins, and left popliteal vein. Furthermore, a small PE was identified. Hyperthyroidism often presents with thrombotic events, especially at cerebral sites, but few reports of PE or LEDVT have been made.


          This case suggests that the occurrence of thyroid storm may be associated with a risk of LEDVT and/or PE. We suggest that DVT preventive measures are undertaken, and that a lower limb venous echo or contrast-enhanced CT examination would be considered if LEDVT is suspected.

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          Most cited references 13

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          Life-threatening thyrotoxicosis. Thyroid storm.

          Although important strides in recognition and therapy have significantly reduced the mortality in this disorder from the nearly 100% fatality rate noted by Lahey, survival is by no means guaranteed. More recent series have yielded fatality rates between 20% and 50%. Although some authors have attributed this improvement, in part, to a relaxation of the diagnostic criteria for thyroid storm, it more likely represents improvements in early recognition and the beneficial effects of the serial addition of antithyroid, corticosteroid, and antiadrenergic therapies to the treatment of this disorder. Thyroid storm is a dreaded, fortunately rare complication of a very common disorder. Most cases of thyroid storm occur following a precipitating event or intercurrent illness. Effective management is predicated on a prompt recognition of impending thyroid storm which is, in turn, dependent on a thorough knowledge of both the typical and atypical presentations of this disorder. An unwavering commitment to an aggressive, multifaceted therapeutic intervention as outlined herein is critical to the obtainment of a satisfactory outcome.
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            Role of clotting factor VIII in effect of von Willebrand factor on occurrence of deep-vein thrombosis.

            To elucidate the roles of the ABO blood group, von Willebrand factor (vWF), and clotting factor VIII in the process of deep-vein thrombosis we undertook a population-based patient-control study in which 301 consecutive patients younger than 70 with a first, objectively diagnosed episode of venous thrombosis and without an underlying malignant disorder were compared with 301 healthy controls matched for age and sex. In univariate analysis, blood group, vWF concentration, and factor VIII concentrations were all related to deep-vein thrombosis. The risk of thrombosis increased with increasing vWF or factor VIII concentration and was higher in subjects of non-O blood groups than in those of group O. In multivariate analysis only factor VIII remained as a risk factor, and the dose-response relation between factor VIII concentration and risk of thrombosis persisted (subjects with factor VIII concentrations above 1500 IU/L had an adjusted odds ratio of 4.8 [95% Cl 2.3-10.0]). By contrast, the adjusted odds ratio for each vWF stratum did not differ from 1, and that for blood group was 1.5 (1.0-2.2). Our findings point to an effect on thrombosis risk of vWF and blood group, the former fully and the latter at least partly mediated through factor VIII. The 25% prevalence of factor VIII concentrations above 1500 IU/L among unselected consecutive thrombosis patients and the high adjusted relative risk for thrombosis lead to the conclusion that high factor VIII concentrations are common and represent a clear increase in risk of thrombosis, similar to the risks conferred by deficiencies of the coagulation-inhibiting proteins and activated protein C resistance.
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              Diagnostic criteria, clinical features, and incidence of thyroid storm based on nationwide surveys.

              Thyroid storm (TS) is life threatening. Its incidence is poorly defined, few series are available, and population-based diagnostic criteria have not been established. We surveyed TS in Japan, defined its characteristics, and formulated diagnostic criteria, FINAL-CRITERIA1 and FINAL-CRITERIA2, for two grades of TS, TS1, and TS2 respectively. We first developed diagnostic criteria based on 99 patients in the literature and 7 of our patients (LIT-CRITERIA1 for TS1 and LIT-CRITERIA2 for TS2). Thyrotoxicosis was a prerequisite for TS1 and TS2 as well as for combinations of the central nervous system manifestations, fever, tachycardia, congestive heart failure (CHF), and gastrointestinal (GI)/hepatic disturbances. We then conducted initial and follow-up surveys from 2004 through 2008, targeting all hospitals in Japan, with an eight-layered random extraction selection process to obtain and verify information on patients who met LIT-CRITERIA1 and LIT-CRITERIA2. We identified 282 patients with TS1 and 74 patients with TS2. Based on these data and information from the Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare of Japan, we estimated the incidence of TS in hospitalized patients in Japan to be 0.20 per 100,000 per year. Serum-free thyroxine and free triiodothyroine concentrations were similar among patients with TS in the literature, Japanese patients with TS1 or TS2, and a group of patients with thyrotoxicosis without TS (Tox-NoTS). The mortality rate was 11.0% in TS1, 9.5% in TS2, and 0% in Tox-NoTS patients. Multiple organ failure was the most common cause of death in TS1 and TS2, followed by CHF, respiratory failure, arrhythmia, disseminated intravascular coagulation, GI perforation, hypoxic brain syndrome, and sepsis. Glasgow Coma Scale results and blood urea nitrogen (BUN) were associated with irreversible damages in 22 survivors. The only change in our final diagnostic criteria for TS as compared with our initial criteria related to serum bilirubin concentration >3 mg/dL. TS is still a life-threatening disorder with more than 10% mortality in Japan. We present newly formulated diagnostic criteria for TS and clarify its clinical features, prognosis, and incidence based on nationwide surveys in Japan. This information will help diagnose TS and in understanding the factors contributing to mortality and irreversible complications.

                Author and article information

                [1 ]Medical Intern, Nerima General Hospital, 1-24-1 Asahigaoka, Nerima-ku, Tokyo 176-8530, Japan
                [2 ]Department of Internal Medicine, Nerima General Hospital, 1-24-1 Asahigaoka, Nerima-ku, Tokyo 176-8530, Japan
                BMC Res Notes
                BMC Res Notes
                BMC Research Notes
                BioMed Central
                20 May 2013
                : 6
                : 198
                23687997 3669617 1756-0500-6-198 10.1186/1756-0500-6-198
                Copyright ©2013 Umezu et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

                This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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