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Thyroid storm

Definition

Thyroid storm is a life-threatening condition that develops in cases of untreated thyrotoxicosis (hyperthyroidism).

Alternative Names

Thyrotoxic storm; Hyperthyroid storm; Accelerated hyperthyroidism

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

Thyroid storm results from untreated hyperthyroidism. It is usually brought on by a stress such as trauma or infection.

Symptoms

Symptoms are severe and may include:

Signs and tests

  • The top number in a blood pressure reading may be high
  • Increased heart rate

Blood tests are done to evaluate thyroid function.

Complications

Congestive heart failure and pulmonary edema can develop rapidly and lead to death.

Calling your health care provider

This is an emergency condition. Call 911 or another emergency number if you have hyperthyroidism and experience symptoms of thyroid storm.

References

AACE Thyroid Task Force. American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists medical guidelines for clinical practice for the evaluation and treatment of hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism. Endocr Pract. 2002;8(6):457-469.

Ladenson P, Kim M. Thyroid. In: Goldman L and Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders; 2007:chap 244.

Davies TF, Larsen PR. Thyrotoxicosis. In: Kronenberg HM, Melmed S, Polonsky KS, Larsen PR, eds. Williams Textbook of Endocrinology. 11th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier;2008:chap 11.


Review Date: 5/10/2010
Reviewed By: Ari S. Eckman, MD, Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
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