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Eur J Endocrinol. 2012 Nov;167(5):715-8. doi: 10.1530/EJE-12-0542. Epub 2012 Sep 6.

Increasing use of radioiodine in young people with thyrotoxicosis in Great Britain.

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Nuclear Medicine, Regional Medical Physics Department, Freeman Hospital, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, UK.



Radioiodine (RI) is an important therapeutic option in young patients with thyrotoxicosis. We wanted to determine whether RI is being used more frequently in this age group.


National survey of Great Britain (England, Wales and Scotland).


Sixty-one medical physics departments were asked to provide the age and number of patients with thyrotoxicosis <21 years treated with RI (1990-2008). Information on the total number of RI treatments for thyrotoxicosis was also collected.


Forty-three departments (70%), with representation from 21 of the 25 most populous areas of Great Britain, provided data on 69,258 treatments. The number of treatments recorded on patients <21 years during this period was 560 (0.9%). The frequency of treatments in young people as a percentage of the total increased from 0.2% in 1990 to 1.5% in 2008 (P<0.001). When the 18 centres submitting at least 17 years of data were analysed, a similar pattern was observed. The maximum number of young people treated was greatest in 2008 (62) with a fall in the youngest age at which RI was administered from 18 years (1990) to 11 years (2008).


A rising proportion of patients with thyrotoxicosis receiving RI are in those <21 years. This is largely due to an increase in the number of young people treated with a reduction in the minimum age at RI administration. We suspect that European clinicians are becoming more comfortable with RI treatment in young people with thyrotoxicosis, although a changing incidence is a potential contributing factor.

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