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      Clinical Concepts on Thyroid Emergencies

      hypothyroid coma, thyrotoxic storm, hyperthyroidism, thyrotoxicosis, hypothyroidism, massive goiter

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          Abstract

          Objective: Thyroid-related emergencies are caused by overt dysfunction of the gland which are so severe that require admission to intensive care units (ICU) frequently. Nonetheless, in the ICU setting, it is crucial to differentiate patients with non-thyroidal illness and alterations in thyroid function tests from those with intrinsic thyroid disease. This review presents and discusses the main etiopathogenetical and clinical aspects of hypothyroid coma (HC) and thyrotoxic storm (TS), including therapeutic strategy flow-charts. Furthermore, a special chapter is dedicated to the approach to massive goiter, which represents a surgical thyroid emergency. Data Source: We searched the electronic MEDLINE database on September 2013. Data Selection and Data Extraction: Reviews, original articles, and case reports on “myxedematous coma,” “HC,” “thyroid storm,” “TS,” “massive goiter,” “huge goiter,” “prevalence,” “etiology,” “diagnosis,” “therapy,” and “prognosis” were selected. Data Synthesis and Conclusion: Severe excess or defect of thyroid hormone is rare conditions, which jeopardize the life of patients in most cases. Both HC and TS are triggered by precipitating factors, which occur in patients with severe hypothyroidism or thyrotoxicosis, respectively. The pillars of HC therapy are high-dose l-thyroxine and/or tri-iodothyroinine; i.v. glucocorticoids; treatment of hydro-electrolyte imbalance (mainly, hyponatraemia); treatment of hypothermia; often, endotracheal intubation and assisted mechanic ventilation are needed. Therapy of TS is based on beta-blockers, thyrostatics, and i.v. glucocorticoids; eventually, high-dose of iodide compounds or lithium carbonate may be of benefit. Surgery represents the gold standard treatment in patients with euthyroid massive nodular goiter, although new techniques – e.g., percutaneous laser ablation – are helpful in subjects at high surgical risk or refusing operation.

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          The clinical significance of subclinical thyroid dysfunction.

          Subclinical thyroid disease (SCTD) is defined as serum free T(4) and free T(3) levels within their respective reference ranges in the presence of abnormal serum TSH levels. SCTD is being diagnosed more frequently in clinical practice in young and middle-aged people as well as in the elderly. However, the clinical significance of subclinical thyroid dysfunction is much debated. Subclinical hyper- and hypothyroidism can have repercussions on the cardiovascular system and bone, as well as on other organs and systems. However, the treatment and management of SCTD and population screening are controversial despite the potential risk of progression to overt disease, and there is no consensus on the thyroid hormone and thyrotropin cutoff values at which treatment should be contemplated. Opinions differ regarding tissue effects, symptoms, signs, and cardiovascular risk. Here, we critically review the data on the prevalence and progression of SCTD, its tissue effects, and its prognostic implications. We also examine the mechanisms underlying tissue alterations in SCTD and the effects of replacement therapy on progression and tissue parameters. Lastly, we address the issue of the need to treat slight thyroid hormone deficiency or excess in relation to the patient's age.
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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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              Thyrotoxicosis and thyroid storm.

              Thyroid storm represents the extreme manifestation of thyrotoxicosis as a true endocrine emergency. Although Grave's disease is the most common underlying disorder in thyroid storm, there is usually a precipitating event or condition that transform the patient into life-threatening thyrotoxicosis. Treatment of thyroid storm involves decreasing new hormone synthesis, inhibiting the release of thyroid hormone, and blocking the peripheral effects of thyroid hormone. This multidrug, therapeutic approach uses thionamides, iodine, beta-adrenergic receptor antagonists, corticosteroids in certain circumstances, and supportive therapy. Certain conditions may warrant the use of alternative therapy with cholestyramine, lithium carbonate, or potassium perchlorate. After the critical illness of thyroid storm subsides, definitive treatment of the underlying thyrotoxicosis can be planned.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                4076793
                10.3389/fendo.2014.00102
                25071718
                http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

                Endocrinology & Diabetes
                hypothyroid coma,thyrotoxic storm,hyperthyroidism,thyrotoxicosis,hypothyroidism,massive goiter

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