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Laryngoscope. 1982 Nov;92(11):1269-73.

Acute suppurative thyroiditis in children.


The ability of the thyroid gland to withstand infection is a well known phenomenon. In this regard, inflammatory disease of the thyroid gland in children is an uncommon occurrence. The frequency with which this proceeds to abscess formation is rare. Review of the literature of the past 25 years reveals only 21 reported cases of acute suppurative thyroiditis in children, only one of which has been reported in the otolaryngologic literature. We report two cases of thyroid abscess in children initially presented as painful swellings in the lower neck. An overview of the management of these patients is detailed, including a discussion of the appropriate utilization of diagnostic studies. Demonstration of an internal fistula originating from the pyriform sinus underscores the need to consider a fourth branchial arch remnant as a possible source of infection. The importance of obtaining appropriate bacterial, fungal, and acid-fast cultures is stressed, as is the role of antibiotic therapy and definitive surgery once the diagnosis of thyroid abscess is made.

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