The term Thyroid Storm refers to Thyrotoxicosis which occurs when an excessive amount of thyroid hormone is dumped into the blood stream. This condition is life threatening and requires immediate medical assistance. Anyone experiencing a Thyroid Storm will be admitted to the hospitals critical care unit for intensive medical treatment. Those who are prone to thyroid storm include those with untreated hyperthyroidism, those undergoing surgery on the thyroid, trauma victims and those infected with severe viral and bacterial infections.
The Symptoms of Thyroid Storm
Increased body temperature Tachycardia (rapid heart rate) Nausea/vomiting Diarrhea Heart palpitations Heart failure Pulmonary edema Confusion Seizure Coma Abdominal pain Jaundice
Thyrotoxicosis is caused by an increase of thyroid hormone in the blood stream followed by a fever of up to 106 degrees. Factors that cause this affliction include:
Stopping the required hyperthyroidism medications without consulting with the health care professional Ingesting too much of thyroid hormone causing an overdose Radioactive iodine treatments People with hyperactive thyroid conditions who are suffering from severe infection or illness Myocardial infarction (heart attack) in a person with hyperactive thyroid
Anyone who has hyperthyroidism is susceptible to thyroid storm. The condition is brought about when excess amounts of thyroid hormone are secreted into the blood stream in a very short time period.
If someone who has over active thyroid is experiencing fever, confusion, disorientation and rapid heartbeat should be admitted to the hospital immediately. Once admitted, a medical history will be taken and the medical professionals will perform diagnostic tests to analyze factors that include:
Blood cell count Electrolytes, such as sodium, potassium, and calcium Blood sugar level Thyroid hormone levels will also be tested. Liver function test
What is the Treatment?
The goal of the medical professional is to decrease the amount of thyroid hormone produced or inhibit its production and release into the blood. This is done by:
The administration of PTU and methimazole in high dosages will inhibit production of thyroid hormone. Sodium iodide, potassium iodide, or Lugol’s solution can be administered to prevent the secretion of thyroxin. Beta blockers such as propranolol (Inderal, Inderal LA) to control heart rate, and IV steroids to enhance circulation.
If gone untreated, Thyrotoxicosis can result in:
Coma Heart failure Liver failure Stroke Death
Further treatment options include:
Administration of IV fluids and electrolytes. Oxygen via nasal cannula or face mask Medication and cooling towels to control fever Vitamins Antibiotics Iodine to block secretion of thyroid hormone Kidney dialysis Sedatives to induce rest Propranolol and dexamethasone to block hormone synthesis Antithyroid drugs and potassium iodine.
All medications should be taken as prescribed by your healthcare provider if you are diagnosed with hyperthyroidism. Furthermore, if you are aware and familiar with the signs and symptoms of thyroid storm, it will allow you the opportunity to seek immediate medical care, thus resulting in saving your life.