Thyroid Storm Causes
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
- Too high dose of thyroid hormone replacement
- Treatment with radioactive iodine
- Heart attack or cardiac emergencies
When to Seek Medical Care fo Thyroid Storm
If you have any of the following conditions, call your doctor immediately:
- Very rapid heart beats
- Confusion and disorientation
- Significant fatigue and exhaustion
Friends or family members of anyone experiencing symptoms of thyroid storm (who may not be able to function normally) should take the affected individual to an emergency department immediately.
Thyroid Storm Diagnosis
The following tests are usually performed to diagnose thyroid storm:
Thyroid Storm Treatment
People experiencing thyroid storm are not able to function normally. Thyroid storm is always a medical emergency. People experiencing symptoms of thyroid storm should be taken to the closest hospital, because thyroid storm is a life-threatening condition.
Thyroid Storm Medical Treatment
Treatment of thyroid storm consists of life support measures to support vital organ function along with attempts to reduce thyroid hormone release. A complete evaluation to determine the cause of thyroid storm will also be carried out along with treatment of underlying or precipitating diseases or conditions. Treatment and supportive measures can include:
- A complete evaluation to determine the cause of thyroid storm
- Intravenous fluids and electrolytes
- Oxygen if needed
- Fever control with antipyretics (fever-reducing medications) and if needed cooling blankets
- Intravenous corticosteroids such as hydrocortisone
- Medications to block the production of thyroid hormones, such as propylthiouracil (PTU) or methimazole (Northyx, Tapazole)
- Iodide to block thyroid hormone release
- Drugs called beta-blockers, such as propranolol (Inderal) to block the action of thyroid hormones on the body
- Treatment of heart failure if present
Thyroid Storm Follow-up
- Following the start of treatment, careful monitoring is necessary, usually in the intensive care unit.
- Following recovery from thyroid storm, options for definitive treatment include radioactive iodine or antithyroid medications. Surgery to remove the thyroid gland is rarely needed.
- Follow-up with the doctor after discharge is important to monitor the thyroid condition and formulate a plan for curative treatment.
Thyroid Storm Prevention
Thyroid storm can be prevented with early treatment of hyperthyroidism and recognition of the warning symptoms of thyroid storm.
Thyroid Storm Prognosis
- Thyroid storm is a very serious condition that can result in death.
- Early and aggressive treatment can improve the outcome