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Thyroid storm
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Thyroid storm

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Thyrotoxic storm; Hyperthyroid storm; Accelerated hyperthyroidism

Thyroid storm is a life-threatening condition that develops in cases of untreated thyrotoxicosis (hyperthyroidism, or overactive thyroid).

I Would Like to Learn About:

  • Causes

    Thyroid storm occurs in people with untreated hyperthyroidism. It is usually brought on by a major stress such as trauma, heart attack, or infection. Thyroid storm is very rare.

  • Symptoms

    Symptoms are severe and may include any of the following:

    • Agitation
    • Change in alertness (consciousness)
    • Confusion
    • Diarrhea
    • Increased temperature
    • Pounding heart (tachycardia)
    • Restlessness
    • Shaking
    • Sweating
  • Exams and Tests


    • The systolic (top number) blood pressure reading may be high, and the diastolic (bottom number) blood pressure may be low
    • Heart rate is increased

    Blood tests are done to check thyroid hormones TSH and T3.

  • Possible Complications

    Irregular heart rhythms (arrhythmias) may occur. Heart failure and pulmonary edema can develop rapidly and lead to death.

  • When to Contact a Medical Professional

    This is an emergency condition. Call 911 or another emergency number if you have hyperthyroidism and experience symptoms of thyroid storm.

Related Information

  HyperthyroidismPulse - bounding...FeverSweatingAgitationHeart Failure Over...Pulmonary edema     Heart failure

References

Bahn RS, Burch HB, Cooper DS, et al. Hyperthyroidism and other causes of thyrotoxicosis: Management Guidelines of the American Thyroid Association and American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists. Endocr Pract. 2011;17:457-520.

Mandel SJ, Larsen PR, Davies TF. Thyrotoxicosis. In: Melmed S, Polonsky KS, Larsen PR, Kronenberg HM. Williams Textbook of Endocrinology. 12th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2011:chap 12.

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Review Date: 5/10/2014  

Reviewed By: Brent Wisse, MD, Associate Professor of Medicine, Division of Metabolism, Endocrinology & Nutrition, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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