Thyroid storm is a very rare, but life-threatening condition of the thyroid gland that develops in cases of untreated thyrotoxicosis (hyperthyroidism, or overactive thyroid).
The thyroid gland is located in the neck, just above where your collarbones meet in the middle.
Thyrotoxic storm; Thyrotoxic crisis; Hyperthyroid storm; Accelerated hyperthyroidism; Thyroid crisis; Thyrotoxicosis - thyroid storm
Thyroid storm occurs due to a major stress such as trauma, heart attack, or infection in people with uncontrolled hyperthyroidism. In rare cases, thyroid storm can be caused by treatment of hyperthyroidism with radioactive iodine therapy for Graves disease. This can occur even a week or more after the radioactive iodine treatment.
Symptoms are severe and may include any of the following:
Thyroid storm is life-threatening and requires emergency treatment. Often, the person needs to be admitted to the intensive care unit. Treatment includes supportive measures, such as giving oxygen and fluids in case of breathing difficulty or dehydration. Treatment may include:
The final goal of treatment is to decrease the levels of thyroid hormones in the blood. Sometimes, iodine is given in high doses to try and stun the thyroid. Other drugs may be given to lower the hormone level in the blood. Beta blocker medicines are often given by vein (IV) to slow the heart rate, lower blood pressure, and block the effects of the thyroid hormone excess.
Antibiotics are given in case of infection.
Irregular heart rhythms (arrhythmias) may occur. Heart failure and pulmonary edema can develop rapidly and cause death.
This is an emergency condition. Call 911 or another emergency number if you have hyperthyroidism and experience symptoms of thyroid storm.
To prevent thyroid storm, hyperthyroidism should be treated.
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There are no recent clinical trials available for this condition. Please check back because new trials are being conducted frequently.