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Multinodular Goiter as the Initial Presentation of Systemic Sarcoidosis: Limitation of Fine-Needle Biopsy

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Sarcoidosis is a chronic systemic disease characterized by noncaseating granulomas. Thyroid involvement is rare, with a prevalence of 1‐4% in large series of autopsied patients with systemic sarcoid. We report a case of a 65-year-old woman with a nontoxic multinodular goiter, dyspnea in the supine position, and rightward tracheal deviation as the initial presentation of systemic sarcoidosis. Fine-needle biopsy of the thyroid mass was consistent with benign adenomatoid goiter. A total thyroidectomy was performed because of compression symptoms. Histopathology revealed numerous diffuse noncaseating granulomata typical of thyroid sarcoidosis. Subsequent chest computed tomography showed extensive bulky mediastinal and hilar adenopathy and multiple small pulmonary nodules consistent with sarcoidosis. Transbronchial fine-needle biopsy also revealed noncaseating granulomas. The patient's supine dyspnea resolved quickly after total thyroidectomy. This case report illustrates that in patients with known sarcoidosis, careful thyroid examination is essential and supine dyspnea may be directly related to tracheal compression by a multinodular goiter rather than pulmonary sarcoidosis.

Keywords: multinodular goiter; noncaseating granuloma; sarcoidosis; thyroid sarcoidosis

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.4187/respcare.01000

Affiliations: Department of Endocrinology, National Naval Medical Center, Bethesda, Maryland, USA

Publication date: July 1, 2011

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