Diabetes/Endocrinology and Metabolism; Internal Medicine
Background: Thyroid storm is an endocrine emergency and life-threatening condition discovered in 1926. There is no specific laboratory parameter that can differentiate or distinguish between thyroid storm and primary hyperthyroidism. Diagnosis is made on a clinical scoring system, including the Burch-Wartofsky point scale and Japanese Thyroid Association scoring system. The management is early diagnosis, immediate initiation of anti-thyroid medications, intensive care monitoring, and prevention of multiorgan failure.
Case presentation: A 30-year-old Pakistani female presented with complaint of headache, vomiting, and generalized weakness for 3 weeks. She had an episode of seizure-like activity at home, and so was rushed to the emergency department. A detailed thyroid examination revealed a soft, nontender gland with no enlargement or bruit and no exophthalmos. Her thyroid-stimulating hormone was extremely low, with high free triiodothyronine and thyroxine. Thyroglobulin was 425 ng/ml (normal reference range ≤ 55 ng/ml), and thyroid-stimulating hormone receptor antibody was 0.87 IU/L (normal reference range 0-1.75 IU/L). She had high levels of beta-human chorionic gonadotropin hormone on initial presentation. Transvaginal ultrasound showed no intrauterine pregnancy, but an echogenic focus was found adherent to the right ovary with no vascularity. With the chief complaint of headache, she underwent magnetic resonance imaging of the brain that showed multiple scattered hemorrhagic lesions in supratentorial and infratentorial brain parenchyma that were highly suspicious for metastases. Computed tomography scan of the chest, abdomen, and pelvis revealed multiple neoplastic lesions in the lung, liver, spleen, and kidneys. A Tru-Cut liver biopsy showed linear cores of liver tissue with metastatic carcinoma with morphological features consistent with choriocarcinoma. Our patient scored 65 on the Burch-Wartofsky point scale. As per the Japanese Thyroid Association scoring system, our patient met the criteria for a "definite thyroid storm." She had initiated propranolol to achieve adequate control of her heart rate and dexamethasone. Carbimazole was started to control her thyroid function. Her thyroid function after 2 weeks of treatment showed significant improvement. Methotrexate and etoposide were given for choriocarcinoma. She made a good recovery and was discharged home. She will undergo rehabilitation along with ongoing chemotherapy (methotrexate and etoposide weekly till beta-human chorionic gonadotropin levels normalize). Unless her source of beta-human chorionic gonadotropin is carefully under control, she will continue to take anti-thyroid medications.
Conclusion: Choriocarcinoma is not only associated with hyperthyroidism but can induce thyroid storm. Beta-human chorionic gonadotropin is directly associated with promoting thyroid dysfunction. Patients with gestational trophoblastic disease should be under close surveillance to prevent thyroid storms.
Journal of Medical Case Reports
(2021). Metastatic choriocarcinoma in a young woman presenting as thyroid storm: A case report. Journal of Medical Case Reports, 15(1), 519.
Available at: https://ecommons.aku.edu/pakistan_fhs_mc_med_med/647
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