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What Can Cause A Thyroid Storm

Increases In Free Thyroid Hormone

Thyroid Storm Nursing Pathophysiology NCLEX Review Thyrotoxic Crisis

Individuals with thyroid storm tend to have increased levels of free thyroid hormone, although total thyroid hormone levels may not be much higher than in uncomplicated hyperthyroidism. The rise in the availability of free thyroid hormone may be the result of manipulating the thyroid gland. In the setting of an individual receiving radioactive iodine therapy, free thyroid hormone levels may acutely increase due to the release of hormone from ablated thyroid tissue.

Who Is More Likely To Develop Hyperthyroidism

Women are 2 to 10 times more likely than men to develop hyperthyroidism.2 You are more likely to have hyperthyroidism if you

  • eat large amounts of food containing iodine, such as kelp, or use medicines that contain iodine, such as amiodarone, a heart medicine
  • are older than age 60, especially if you are a woman
  • were pregnant within the past 6 months
  • What Causes Thyroid Storm

    Thyroid storm can be considered to be an extreme degree of hyperthyroidism and typically occurs in an individual with untreated hyperthyroidism. Precipitating factors, including trauma and stresses, have been identified, including:

    • Infections, especially of the lung
    • Thyroid surgery in patients with overactive thyroid gland
    • Stopping medications given for hyperthyroidism
    • Treatment with radioactive iodine

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    What Is A Thyroid Storm

    Thyroid storm is a rare and sudden onset condition that occurs when thyroid hormones levels in the body jump dramatically. This is an extremely serious condition that warrants immediate medical care. Failure to treat thyroid storm usually means the condition is fatal quickly. However, symptoms are so grave, they are unlikely to be ignored.

    Having too much of thyroid hormone can occur in several types of disease. It sometimes happens as a consequence of thyroid surgery but more commonly occurs in present day due to underlying conditions like Graves disease, which causes elevated thyroid levels at a slower pace. Sometimes other diseases such as Hashimotos thyroiditis are also responsible for a sudden thyroid storm, though this autoimmune disorder is more commonly associated with below normal thyroid hormone levels. Other conditions that have been associated with storm include lupus, goiter or tumors on the thyroid.

    Workup In Thyroid Storm

    Thyroid Storm: Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment

    The diagnosis of thyroid storm is based on clinical features, not on laboratory test findings. If the patient’s clinical picture is consistent with thyroid storm, do not delay treatment pending laboratory confirmation of thyrotoxicosis.

    Results of thyroid studies are usually consistent with hyperthyroidism and are useful only if the patient has not been previously diagnosed.

    Usual findings include elevated triiodothyronine , thyroxine , and free T4 levels increased T3 resin uptake suppressed thyroid-stimulating hormone levels and an elevated 24-hour iodine uptake. TSH levels are not suppressed in the rare instances of excess TSH secretion.

    Chest radiography may reveal cardiac enlargement due to congestive heart failure. Radiography may also reveal pulmonary edema caused by heart failure and/or evidence of pulmonary infection.

    Head computed tomography scanning may be necessary to exclude other neurologic conditions if diagnosis is uncertain after the initial stabilization of a patient who presents with altered mental status.

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    What Are My Hyperthyroidism Treatment Options

    You may receive medicines, radioiodine therapy, or thyroid surgery to treat your hyperthyroidism. The aim of treatment is to bring thyroid hormone levels back to normal to prevent long-term health problems and to relieve uncomfortable symptoms. No single treatment works for everyone.

    Treatment depends on the cause of your hyperthyroidism and how severe it is. When recommending a treatment, your doctor will consider your age, possible allergies to or side effects of the medicines, other conditions such as pregnancy or heart disease, and whether you have access to an experienced thyroid surgeon.

    Radioactive Iodine Uptake And Thyroid Scan

    A radioactive iodine uptake test and thyroid scan help determine the cause of hyperthyroidism . Uptake is the percentage of an iodine 123 tracer dose taken up by the thyroid gland, ranging from 15% to 25% at 24 hours. The uptake is very low in patients with thyroiditis and high in patients with Graves disease, a toxic adenoma, or a toxic multinodular goiter.23,24

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    Are You Sure The Patient Has Thyroid Storm

    Thyroid storm is a rare, life-threatening complication of thyrotoxicosis, which is usually precipitated by an intercurrent medical problem.

    The incidence of thyroid storm was once relatively high because of a liberal definition of the condition. For example, some reports included all post-operative thyroidectomy cases that manifested a febrile reaction higher than 38.3 C, but many, if not most, of these early cases do not fit the current criteria for thyroid storm. Thyroid storm in the post-operative period is rarely observed currently, as patients are better prepared for surgery than was once the case. Certain clinical and socioeconomic factors, including the lack of insurance, age younger than 30 or older than 50, and serum T4 concentrations greater than twice the upper limit of normal, have also been suggested as being associated with complicated hyperthyroidism.

    Hyperthyroidism is the most common cause of thyrotoxicosis leading to thyroid storm. While the cause of the rapid clinical decompensation is unknown, a sudden inhibition by the precipitating factor of thyroid hormones ability to bind to plasma proteins, which causes an acute rise in the free hormone pool, may play a role in the pathogenesis of thyroid storm. Thyroid storm is a medical emergency that should be managed in the intensive care unit .

    Clinical features of Thyroid Storm

    Precipitating Factors of Thyroid Storm

    What Are The Symptoms Of Hyperthyroidism

    Thyroid Storm : Causes, Diagnosis, Symptoms, Treatment, Prognosis

    Thyroid hormone has important effect on almost every organ in the body, including the brain, heart, bone, skin, and intestinal tract. In hyperthyroidism, excessive amounts of thyroid hormone can cause symptoms from any of these organs. Excess thyroid hormone increases metabolism and can cause weight loss, sweating, and a rapid heartbeat. It can also affect your childs mood and ability to concentrate, making them nervous, irritable, and anxious. In infants, too much thyroid hormone can result in developmental delay.

    Signs and symptoms of hyperthyroidism may include:

    • difficulty gaining weight
    • always feeling hot
    • trembling of the hand

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    What Causes A Thyroid Storm

    There are several situations that can precipitate this condition including:

    • Infections especially chest infections
    • Thyroid surgery or radioiodine treatment in uncontrolled hyperthyroid patients
    • Pregnancy
    • Cardiac emergencies

    Unfortunately thyroid abnormalities also present themselves in about 16% of cancer patients being treated by immunotherapy. Endocrinologists need to be involved in managing these side effects to avoid the onset of life threatening conditions such as a thyroid storm

    Stopping Thyroid Storm Before It Starts

    While you cant prevent the ravages of Mother Nature, you can reduce the likelihood of thyroid storm. If youve been diagnosed with hyperthyroidism, follow your doctors treatment plan. Treating hyperthyroidism is the best prevention for thyroid storm.

    When hyperthyroidism is not treated, it can push multiple body systems beyond their ability to compensate for the higher levels of thyroid hormone in your body. This can create cardiovascular, central nervous system and gastrointestinal dysfunction. For example, heart failure and pulmonary edema can develop rapidly and cause death.

    Thyroid storm still carries a 10 to 20 percent mortality rate despite prevention and treatment advances.

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    Side Effects Of Stopping Thyroid Medication Suddenly


    The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland in the front of the neck that creates hormones that regulate many things in your body.

    Thyroid hormones influence body temperature, weight, heart health, and fertility. They regulate growth and metabolism.

    When the thyroid doesnt produce enough hormones, you will need medication to treat that. The condition is hypothyroidism. When thyroid hormone levels are low, your body burns energy slower, causing your body temperature and heart rate to reduce.

    It is caused by Hashimotos thyroiditis. This is an autoimmune condition that causes your body to attack the thyroid gland. Eventually, this leads to reduced thyroid function. It is also caused by treatment for hyperthyroidism.

    C History Part : Competing Diagnoses That Can Mimic Thyroid Storm

    Thyroid Storm

    Thyroid storm can mimic several diagnoses, such as sepsis, liver failure, CNS infection, etc, given its wide-ranging derangements involving multiple organ systems. To distinguish this condition from other diagnoses, one must take into account the patients existing medical history of a possible hyperthyroid condition, the constellation of findings by using the scoring system as a guide, and physical exam findings specific to thyrotoxicosis as detailed below.

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    How Long Does It Take For Thyroid Levels To Stabilize

    After about a week or two of levothyroxine treatment, you will stop feeling fatigued. You will be monitored for six to eight weeks. After that, you will have to do blood tests every six months to ensure you are fine.

    Most people end up having to live with hypothyroidism for the rest of their lives.

    Usually, it takes about three to four weeks for thyroid hormone levels to stabilize. This is because the thyroid hormone has a half-life of seven days.

    B Appropriate Prophylaxis And Other Measures To Prevent Readmission

    Patients should receive standard DVT prophylaxis while hospitalized for thyroid storm. Once stabilized and discharged, a thorough work-up and long-term management plan for the patients hyperthyroidism will be key in preventing future episodes of severe thyrotoxicosis and subsequent hospitalizations.

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    When Should Clinic Follow Up Be Arranged And With Whom

    Patients should be closely followed after discharge to assess for recurrence of symptoms, compliance on therapy, and for any adverse reactions to the medications. In addition, they should be followed closely to determine a long-term management plan for treatment of thyrotoxicosis. Although there are no standard recommendations for when patients should be seen after discharge, they should likely have been seen by their primary care physician within 1 week of discharge to assess clinical signs and symptoms, and should be seen by an endocrinologist within 2 week of discharge for further titration of anti-thyroid therapy as well as determination of a long-term treatment plan.

    B Physical Examination Tips To Guide Management

    Hypothyroidism, Hyperthyroidism, Thyroid Storm for the USMLE

    Specific symptoms that should be monitored are those typically affected in thyroid storm. Temperature, hemodynamics, mental status, and neurologic exam should be monitored carefully. If applicable, symptoms of congestive heart failure should be assessed closely to help guide supportive treatment. Similarly, volume status should be assessed frequently as these patients can have large amounts of volume loss secondary to fever, vomiting, and/or diarrhea.

    Improvement in clinical status can guide discontinuation of iodine therapy as well as tapering and cessation of glucocorticoids.

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    Spotlight On Aging: Hyperthyroidism In Older People

    Hyperthyroidism affects about the same percentage of older people as younger peopleabout 1%. However, hyperthyroidism is often more serious among older people because they tend to have other disorders as well.

    Hyperthyroidism in older people often results from Graves disease. Almost as often, hyperthyroidism is caused by the gradual growth of many small lumps in the thyroid gland .

    Some drugs can cause hyperthyroidism as well. The most common is amiodarone, a drug used to treat heart disease but which may stimulate or damage the thyroid gland.

    Hyperthyroidism can cause many vague symptoms that can be attributed to other conditions. Typically, symptoms are different in older and younger people.

    Among older people, the most common symptoms are weight loss and fatigue. The heart rate may or may not be increased, and the eyes usually do not bulge. Older people are also more likely to have abnormal heart rhythms , other heart problems , and constipation.

    Occasionally, older people sweat profusely, become nervous and anxious, and have hand tremors and frequent bowel movements or diarrhea.

    How Is Hyperthyroidism Treated

    There are many treatment options for hyperthyroidism. Depending on the cause of your hyperthyroidism, some options may be better for you over the long-term. Your healthcare provider will discuss each option with you and help you determine the best treatment for you.

    Treatment options for hyperthyroidism can include:

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    Expert Perspective On Proposed Changes To Care

    Elizabeth Pearce, MD, MSc, associate professor of medicine at Boston University School of Medicine, reviewed the new guidelines for EndocrineWeb. While the Japanese guidelines are sometimes at odds with those of the American Thyroid Association, she says both are in agreement that the mainstay of thyroid therapy should include a team of many specialists, including an endocrinologist, a cardiologist, and other specialists, and that anti-thyroid medications and other treatments are needed to normalize thyroid hormone levels.

    While thyroid storm is serious and may be fatal for an estimated one in 10 patients or lead to permanent impairments for some patients, Dr. Pearce stresses the fact that it is also quite rare.

    The most important take-home message for those with an overactive thyroid?

    “It is crucial to take your antithyroid medication as prescribed, and never to stop it without consulting with your healthcare provider first .” And you should be sure to see your health practitioner at least once a year to have your thyroid panel checked so any adjustments to your medications can be made, as needed.

    What Happens During A Cytokine Storm In The Lungs

    Thyroid Storm

    A cytokine storm starts locallyin the lungsand then spreads throughout the body through blood circulation.

    First signs of acute inflammation are swelling , fever, pain, and a loss of lung capacity.

    The body responds to acute inflammation by:

    • Increasing the blood flow to the site of inflammation to enable immune cells to fight the virus

    • Increasing body temperature to fight the virus

    • Generating pain to signal whats going on

    Acute lung injury as seen with SARS patientsis a common consequence of a cytokine storm occurring in the lungs .

    If the lung infection is particularly severe, inflammation will spread to the rest of the body through circulation and cause sepsis .

    Cytokines that support inflammation immediately travel to the site of inflammation, while cytokines that work against inflammation usually arrive a few hours to days after the inflammation has started . This is because the first type of cytokines are needed to signal to relevant cells of the immune system to come to the site that is fighting the virus.

    The stronger the infection is, the more powerful the immune response is. In some cases its potentially deadly .

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    What Causes Hyperthyroidism

    There are several possible causes of hyperthyroidism.

    Graves disease is the most common cause of hyperthyroidism in children and adolescents. This is an autoimmune disorder in which the body produces thyroid-stimulating antibodies, which stimulate the thyroid gland to produce too much thyroid hormone.

    Neonatal Graves disease is the most common cause of hyperthyroidism in newborns. This happens after a mother with Graves disease passes her thyroid-stimulating antibodies to her child, causing the baby to have a temporary case of hyperthyroidism. Neonatal Graves disease goes away once the mothers antibodies are cleared from the babys bloodstream, usually after a few weeks.

    Autonomous thyroid nodules are growths in the thyroid gland that produce too much thyroid hormone.

    Thyroiditis occurs when the thyroid gland becomes inflamed, causing too much thyroid hormone to leak out of the damaged thyroid and into the blood. Thyroiditis can be caused by infections, autoimmune conditions, radiation exposure, or certain medications. Hyperthyroidism caused by thyroiditis is temporary and usually goes away within eight to 12 weeks.

    What Does My Thyroid Do

    Located at the front of your neck, the thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland. Glands are organs that can be found all over your body. They create and release hormones substances that help your body function and grow. The thyroid gland plays a big part in many of your bodys main functions. Your thyroid gland regulates your body temperature and controls your heart rate and metabolism.

    When your thyroid gland is working correctly, your body is in balance and all of your systems function properly. If your thyroid stops working in the way its meant to creating too much or too little of thyroid hormones it can impact your entire body.

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    A History Part I: Pattern Recognition:

    Patients with thyroid storm typically present with an exaggerated version of symptoms one would expect in uncomplicated hyperthyroidism. It is helpful to think about the clinical presentation by organ system affected. The four systems assessed by the scoring system are: thermoregulatory, CNS, cardiovascular, and GI.

    Hyperpyrexia is quite common in patients with thyroid storm and temperatures can go beyond 104 F. CNS manifestations range from mild agitation to delirium, psychosis, lethargy, seizures, and coma. Cardiovascular effects include mild to severe tachycardia, atrial fibrillation, congestive heart failure, hypotension, and cardiovascular collapse in severe cases. Patients in thyroid storm can classically also present with nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and jaundice.

    What Is The Thyroid

    Thyroid Storm

    The thyroid is in the neck, above the collarbone. The organ is part of the endocrine system and is responsible for making hormones, including triiodothyronine and thyroxine . These hormones have vast effects on the body they increase the metabolic rate, stimulate fat breakdown, impact blood flow and body temperature, and are essential for normal growth and development.

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