What are the acute complications of subacute thyroiditis?

Updated: Mar 23, 2021
  • Author: Stephanie L Lee, MD, PhD; Chief Editor: Romesh Khardori, MD, PhD, FACP  more...
  • Print

When acute complications do occur, they can include the following:

  • Severe hyperthyroidism - May be observed during the inflammatory phase

  • Severe anterior neck pain over the thyroid - Usual treatment is nonsteroidal therapy, but emerging studies suggest that prednisolone 15 mg/day with a taper of 5 mg every 2 weeks is safe and effective to quickly reduce pain; in a study of prednisolone use by Kubota et al, most patients had resolution of symptoms by 6-8 weeks, although the longest period of therapy was 40 weeks [21]

  • Multiple system organ failure - May complicate the course of the disease in exceptionally rare cases

  • Pancreatitis or splenomegaly - Associated with de Quervain thyroiditis in case reports only

  • Vocal cord paralysis - Occurs occasionally in cases with severe thyroid gland inflammation

  • Cerebral venous thrombosis - has been reported in some cases; in one case, the patient was a heterozygous carrier for the G20210A mutation of the prothrombin gene, which predisposed her to this complication

Did this answer your question?
Additional feedback? (Optional)
Thank you for your feedback!