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Thyroid dysfunction in patients with amyloid goitre

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OBJECTIVES

Widespread amyloid deposition in the thyroid gland causes diffuse, clinically apparent enlargement of the thyroid (amyloid goitre: AG). The aim of this study was to clarify the abnormalities of thyroid function in patients with AG. DESIGN

Thirty patients with secondary amyloidosis were retrospectively analysed. Their thyroid status was evaluated using the results of routine thyroid function tests and measurement of thyroid autoantibodies. Thyroid needle biopsy was carried out to identify amyloid deposition in the thyroid gland. RESULTS

Thyroid enlargement was observed in 19 (63%) of 30 patients with amyloidosis. Eleven of these 19 patients had a thyroid biopsy and/or autopsy and amyloid deposition was histologically revealed in 10 (defined as AG) of these 11 patients. Nine of 10 patients (90%) with AG had abnormalities of thyroid function, including five patients with hypothyroidism, one with hyperthyroidism, one with transient hypothyroidism, and two with low T3 syndrome. Five had thyroid autoantibodies. The patient with hyperthyroidism had positive thyroid stimulating antibody (TSAb) and high 131I thyroidal uptake, suggesting the coexistence of Graves’ disease. Another patient suffered from thyroidal pain and showed transient hypothyroidism, high level of serum thyroglobulin and low thyroidal uptake of 123I, the clinical course being compatible with subacute thyroiditis. CONCLUSIONS

The incidence of thyroid abnormalities accompanied by AG, although asymptomatic, is unexpectedly high. Thyroid function should therefore be regularly assessed during follow-up of patients with systemic amyloidosis.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: The First Department of Internal Medicine, 2: Department of Cell Physiology, Atomic Disease Institute, Nagasaki University School of Medicine, Nagasaki, Japan

Publication date: June 1, 1997

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