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J Nucl Med. 1997 Mar;38(3):372-6.

Iodine-131 therapy in sporadic nontoxic goiter.

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  • 1Department of Nuclear Medicine, University Hospital Utrecht, The Netherlands.


The effect of radioiodine in the treatment of nontoxic goiter is seldom evaluated quantitatively. The aim of this study was threefold: (a) to assess the effect of 131I on goiter volume, (b) to establish a relationship between CT volume reduction and the amount of radioactivity taken up by the thyroid and (b) to assess the precision of scintigraphic thyroid volume measurements.


In 27 patients with sporadic nontoxic goiter, the thyroid volume was estimated from a [99mTc]pertechnetate scintigram. Two different models (cylinder model and surface model) were applied. The 131I dosage varied between 507 and 3700 MBq. In all patients, noncontrast CT scanning of the neck was performed before therapy and 1 yr after therapy.


The mean CT thyroid volume before therapy was 194 +/- 138 ml. A reduction was obtained in all patients and averaged 34% +/- 17%. The volume reduction measured by CT correlated well with the amount of 131I in the thyroid (r = 0.70). In thyroids larger than 200 ml, both scintigraphic volume estimation methods were imprecise. For smaller volumes, the surface model was superior. Hypothyroidism developed in 14% of the patients. No other side effects occurred.


Iodine-131 therapy for volume reduction in nontoxic goiter is a safe and effective treatment. For scintigraphic estimation of thyroid gland volumes smaller than 200 ml, the surface model is preferred.

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