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Eur J Radiol. 2000 Oct;36(1):5-10.

Color Doppler measurement of blood flow in the inferior thyroid artery in patients with autoimmune thyroid diseases.

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Department of Radiology, University 'P. Giaccone', Palermo, Italy.



The aim of the study is to find out whether the measurement of peak systolic velocity in the inferior thyroid artery (ITA) is a valuable parameter to differentiate autoimmune thyroid diseases (hyper-, normo- or hypofunctional) and to evaluate the efficacy of medical treatment.


The ITA of 31 patients (eight with Graves' disease, 23 with subclinical hypothyroidism) was examined with color Doppler and pulsed Doppler. The final diagnosis was obtained by cytology and by hormonal and antibodies assays. The patients were monitorized by ultrasound for a period of 8 months.


In all the patients with Graves' disease the peak systolic velocity was always over 150 cm/s, while in other autoimmune thyroiditis the peak systolic velocity was within the normal range, and never exceeding 65 cm/s. In the first group, the measurement taken in the ITA showed also the efficacy of the pharmacological treatment earlier and more reliably than the color Doppler pattern obtained in the parenchyma.


The color Doppler measurement of the ITA seems to be a promising technique with low-cost and easy approach. In our experience, the color Doppler of the ITA could have a clinical role in the differential diagnosis of diffuse thyroid diseases and in the follow-up of the Graves' disease during medical treatment.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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