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Eur J Endocrinol. 2009 Sep;161(3):483-7. doi: 10.1530/EJE-09-0383. Epub 2009 Jun 19.

The patient experience of services for thyroid eye disease in the United Kingdom: results of a nationwide survey.

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  • 1Department of Endocrinology, Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital and Peninsula Medical School, Exeter EX2 5DW, UK.



A recent consensus statement from the European Group on Graves' Orbitopathy recommends referring all patients with thyroid eye disease (TED), except the mildest cases, to a specialist multidisciplinary clinic.


To study the patients' experiences of accessing services for the treatment of TED in the UK.


A postal questionnaire survey of 395 members of two patients support organisations for TED in the UK, the TED Charitable Trust and the British Thyroid Foundation.


The response rate was 67%. The majority of responders were females (91%) and aged above 45 (74%). There were delays in the diagnosis and referral. In 26% of responders, the time lapsed from the first symptoms to the diagnosis of TED for over 12 months. There was a wide variation in the type of clinic and healthcare professionals involved in the treatment of TED. Only 25% of the responders attended a specialist TED clinic. Out of these, 33% waited over 6 months from the first consultation with a doctor to being seen at a specialist TED clinic. Only 56% of responders were satisfied with the treatment they received for TED. More responders who had attended a specialist TED clinic were satisfied with the treatment than those who had not attended a specialist clinic (67 vs 52%, P<0.05).


Only a minority of patients with TED are treated at a specialist TED clinic in the UK. Those patients who are treated at a specialist TED clinic are more likely to be satisfied with the treatment.

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