What are complications of Graves disease?

Updated: Mar 23, 2018
  • Author: Sai-Ching Jim Yeung, MD, PhD, FACP; Chief Editor: Romesh Khardori, MD, PhD, FACP  more...
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Answer

If left untreated, Graves disease can cause severe thyrotoxicosis. A life-threatening thyrotoxic crisis (ie, thyroid storm) can occur. Long-standing severe thyrotoxicosis leads to severe weight loss with catabolism of bone and muscle. [12] Cardiac complications and psychocognitive complications can cause significant morbidity. Graves disease is also associated with ophthalmopathy, dermopathy, and acropachy.

Thyroid storm is an exaggerated state of thyrotoxicosis. [13] It occurs in patients who have unrecognized or inadequately treated thyrotoxicosis and a superimposed precipitating event such as thyroid surgery, nonthyroidal surgery, infection, or trauma. When thyroid storm was first described, the acute mortality rate was nearly 100%. In current practice, with aggressive therapy and early recognition of the syndrome, the mortality rate is approximately 20%. [14]


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