Acute Presentation of Massive Retrosternal Thyrotoxic Goitres*


Approximately 5% of goitres extend below the thoracic inlet and can potentially become life threatening due to compression of the airway and major vessels. Approximately 7% of these goitres which require surgical resection will need an additional sternotomy to deliver the intra-thoracic component. Massive retrosternal toxic goitres presenting acutely are rare and are described infrequently in literature. We hereby present two cases of massive retrosternal thyrotoxic goitres presenting with acute respiratory failure, requiring non-invasive ventilation, as well as significant head and neck venous compression. Surgery on the thyrotoxic patient with a goitre, even if not significantly enlarged, is associated with a high peri-operative mortality due to cardiac instability and hemorrhage. We discuss the challenges of surgical intervention in these patients with particular emphasis on the timing of surgery to relieve compressive symptoms and the time needed to achieve a euthyroid state. We also emphasize the need for meticulous hemostasis, use of a cell-saver, transfusion protocols, adjuncts to hemostasis, as well as careful monitoring and continuous adjustments to the coagulation profile.

Share and Cite:

J. V. Lodhia, T. D. Christensen, E. S. Bishay and M. S. Kalkat, "Acute Presentation of Massive Retrosternal Thyrotoxic Goitres*," Open Journal of Thoracic Surgery, Vol. 3 No. 3, 2013, pp. 84-86. doi: 10.4236/ojts.2013.33018.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


[1] M. G. Rugiu and M. Piemonte, “Surgical Approach to Retrosternal Goitre: Do We Still Need Sternotomy?” Acta Otorhinolaryngolocia Italica, Vol. 29, No. 6, 2009, pp. 331-338.
[2] M. L. White and G. M. Doherty, “Evidence-Based Surgical Management of Substernal Goitre,” World Journal of Surgery, Vol. 32, No. 7, 2008, pp. 1285-1300.
[3] M. Nervi, P. Lacconi, C. Spinelli, A. Janni and P. Miccoli, “Thyroid Carcinoma Is Intrathoracic Goiter,” Langenbeck’s Archive of Surgery, Vol. 383, No. 5, 1998, pp. 337-339.
[4] M. R. Katlic and H. C. Grillo, “Substernal Goitre: Analysis of 80 Patients from Massachusetts General Hospital,” American Journal of Surgery, Vol. 149, No. 2, 1985, pp. 283-287.
[5] D. Kilic, A. Findikcioglu, Y. Ekici, U. Alemdaroglu, K. Hekimoglu and A. Hatipoglu, “When Is Transthoracic Approach Indicated in Retrosternal Goitres?” Annals of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, Vol. 17, No. 3, 2011, pp. 250-253.
[6] E. B. Astwood, “Treatment of Hyperthyroidism with Thiourea and Thiouracil,” Journal of American Medical Association, Vol. 122, No. 2, 1943, pp. 78-81.
[7] J. H. Marigold, A. K. Morgan, D. J. Earle, A. E. Young and D. N. Croft, “Lugol’s Iodine: Its Effect on Thyroid Blood Flow in Patients with Thyrotoxicosis,” British Journal of Surgery, Vol. 72, No. 1, 1985, pp. 45-47.

Copyright © 2023 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.