Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Saudi Med J. 2005 Apr;26(4):630-3.

Subacute thyroiditis in Western Saudi Arabia.

Author information

  • 1Department of Medicine, King Abdul-Aziz University Hospital, PO Box 13042, Jeddah 21943, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.



The aim of this study is to assess the clinical presentation of 23 patients with subacute thyroiditis (SAT) and the diagnostic value of radionuclear scan.


This is a cohort study, which consists of 23 patients with a suspected diagnosis of subacute thyroiditis. The study was carried out in the Endocrinology Clinic, King Abdul-Aziz University Hospital, Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia between July 2002 and July 2004. Medical charts including age, gender, clinical presentation, systemic symptoms and clinical examination of the thyroid gland were reviewed. Laboratory data included white blood count and its differential count, erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR), thyroid function test and thyroid antibodies. The radionuclear scan results were also noted. The mode of therapy provided to patients and the outcome of the treatment during a follow up period of 2 years was reported.


Twenty-three adult patients with subacute thyroiditis (15 females and 8 males with a female to male ratio of 1.9:1) were reviewed over a 2-year period. The mean age was 35.8+/-9.2 years. Eighteen patients (78%) had an upper respiratory tract infection at the initial clinical presentation. Twenty patients (87%) visited an Ear, Nose and Throat specialist for sore throat and abnormal sensation in the throat at least 2 weeks before presentation to the endocrinologist. Two patients were admitted to a medical unit with a diagnosis of fever of unknown origin for 4 weeks. All patients had an elevated free thyroxine (35.7+/-19.8 pmol/L) and suppressed thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) (0.043+/-0.065 IU). The radionuclear san showed either no uptake at all in 12 patients or minimal uptake in 11 patients (0.32+/-0.55%). Eight patients (35%) received prednisolone therapy alone with an average dose of 30-40 mg daily for 7-8 days; 7 patients (30%) were treated with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) only. Eight (35%) patients were treated with both NSAIDs and corticosteroids. Hypothyroidism, with elevated TSH, was observed in 6 (26%) of our patients with positive thyroid antibodies during the first 6 months of follow up. There were no reported cases of recurrent or permanent hypothyroidism in our cohort study.


Subacute thyroiditis is an uncommon disease that should be considered in the differential diagnosis of acute anterior neck pain, sore throat and fever especially in patients who do not respond to treatment. In the clinical setting, radioiodine uptake can help exclude other diseases, confirm the diagnosis and expedite the initiation of appropriate therapy to relieve symptoms.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk