Hypothyroidism and Muscular Respiratory Failure Successfully Treated With Liothyronine

Josef Finsterer, MD, PhD, Christian Prainer, MD, Claudia Stöllberger, MD, Andreas Valentin, MD, Christa Jarius, MD, Regina Schreier, MD


South Med J. 2002;95(11) 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction

After total thyroidectomy because of hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism developed in a 78-year-old woman. Despite replacement therapy with levothyroxine sodium in continuously increasing doses, worsening hypothyroidism led to respiratory failure, necessitating artificial ventilation. The addition of liothyronine resulted in complete recovery. Impaired conversion of thyroxine to triiodothyronine by the dejodase was responsible for the manifestations of hypothyroidism.

Neuromuscular affection of hypothyroidism usually involves the limb muscles. Affection of the respiratory muscles, leading to respiratory failure, is a rare manifestation of hypothyroidism.[1,2,3,4]