High risk and low prevalence diseases: Thyroid storm

Link to article at PubMed

Am J Emerg Med. 2023 Mar 27;69:127-135. doi: 10.1016/j.ajem.2023.03.035. Online ahead of print.


INTRODUCTION: Thyroid storm is a rare but serious condition that carries a high rate of morbidity and even mortality.

OBJECTIVE: This review highlights the pearls and pitfalls of thyroid storm, including presentation, diagnosis, and management in the emergency department (ED) based on current evidence.

DISCUSSION: Thyroid storm is a challenging condition to diagnose and manage in the ED. It is characterized by exaggerated signs and symptoms of thyrotoxicosis and evidence of multiorgan decompensation, usually occurring in the presence of an inciting trigger. Clinical features of thyroid storm may include fever, tachycardia, signs of congestive heart failure, vomiting/diarrhea, hepatic dysfunction, and central nervous system disturbance. There are several mimics including sympathomimetic overdose, substance use disorders, alcohol withdrawal, acute pulmonary edema, aortic dissection, heat stroke, serotonin syndrome, and sepsis/septic shock. Ultimately, the key to diagnosis is considering the disease. While laboratory assessment can assist, there is no single laboratory value that will establish a diagnosis of thyroid storm. Clinical criteria include the Burch-Wartofsky point scale and Japan Thyroid Association diagnostic criteria. ED treatment focuses on diagnosing and managing the trigger; resuscitation; administration of steroids, thionamides, iodine, and cholestyramine; and treatment of hyperthermia and agitation. Beta blockers should be administered in the absence of severe heart failure. The emergency clinician should be prepared for rapid clinical deterioration and employ a multidisciplinary approach to treatment that involves critical care and endocrinology specialists.

CONCLUSIONS: An understanding of thyroid storm can assist emergency clinicians in diagnosing and managing this potentially deadly disease.

PMID:37104908 | DOI:10.1016/j.ajem.2023.03.035

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