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Open access

Maha Khalil Abass, Aisha Al Shamsi, Iftikhar Jan, Mohammed Suhail Yasin Masalawala, and Asma Deeb

Summary

The most frequent causes of pancreatitis classically have been known to be gallstones or alcohol. However, genetics can also play a key role in predisposing patients to both chronic and acute pancreatitis. The serine protease inhibitor Kazal type 1 (SPINK 1) gene is known to be strongly associated with pancreatitis. Patients with these underlying genetic mutations can have severe diseases with a high morbidity rate and frequent hospitalization. We report an Arab girl who presented with acute pancreatitis at the age of 7 years progressing to recurrent chronic pancreatitis over a few years. She had severe obesity from the age of 4 years and developed type 2 diabetes at the age of 12. She had a normal biliary system anatomy. Genetic analysis showed that she had combined heterozygous mutations in the SPINK1 gene (SPINK1, c.101A>G p.(Asn34Ser) and SPINK1, c.56-37T>C). Her parents were first-degree cousins, but neither had obesity. Mother was detected to have the same mutations. She had type 2 diabetes but never presented with pancreatitis. This case is the first to be reported from the Arab region with these combined mutations leading to recurrent chronic pancreatitis. It illustrates the importance of diagnosing the underlying genetic mutation in the absence of other known causes of pancreatitis. Considering the absence of pancreatitis history in the mother who did not have obesity but harboured the same mutations, we point out that severe obesity might be a triggering factor of pancreatitis in the presence of the mutations in SPINK1 gene in this child. While this is not an assumption from a single patient, we show that not all carriers of this mutation develop the disease even within the same family. Triggering factors like severe obesity might have a role in developing the disease.

Learning points

  • Acute recurrent pancreatitis and chronic pancreatitis are uncommon in children but might be underdiagnosed.

  • Biliary tract anomalies and dyslipidaemias are known causative factors for pancreatitis, but pancreatitis can be seen in children with intact biliary system.

  • Genetic diagnosis should be sought in children with pancreatitis in the absence of known underlying predisposing factors.

  • SPINK1 mutations can predispose to an early-onset severe recurrent pancreatitis and acute pancreatitis.

Open access

Caoimhe Casey and Tom Higgins

Summary

Subacute thyroiditis is an inflammatory disorder of the thyroid gland that has previously been described following viral illnesses and occasionally post vaccination such as influenza vaccine. 2021 was a revolutionary year for the development of SARS-CoV-2 vaccinations with multiple different vaccines now available. There are increasing numbers of case reports of thyroiditis following these vaccinations. We report a case of a 50-year-old female who developed subacute thyroiditis 6 days post ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine (AZD1222 produced by AstraZeneca Vaxzevria). The initial thyrotoxic phase was followed by overt hypothyroidism. This resolved spontaneously within 5 months without levothyroxine replacement. We hope that our case will add to the growing literature of cases of thyroiditis occurring after multiple different types of SARS-CoV-2 vaccination and create awareness of this rare but treatable adverse effect. We also review the literature on the proposed mechanisms behind this adverse effect.

Learning points

  • Subacute thyroiditis is an inflammatory disorder of the thyroid gland that can occur after a viral illness or vaccination against certain infections.

  • Subacute thyroiditis is a rare adverse effect that has been reported to occur after different types of SARS-CoV-2 vaccinations.

  • Subacute thyroiditis post vaccination is relatively straightforward to manage, with some patients requiring non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and beta-blockers, while more severe cases may require corticosteroid therapy. This adverse effect should not dissuade vaccination use at a population level.

  • There are many postulated mechanisms for the development of subacute thyroiditis following vaccination including the presence of the ACE-2 receptor for SARS-CoV-2 on the thyroid gland, an inflammatory/immune response as is seen in COVID-19 infection itself and molecular mimicry between SARS-CoV-2 spike protein and healthy thyroid antigen.

Open access

Matthew J Verheyden, Natassia Rodrigo, Anthony J Gill, and Sarah J Glastras

Summary

Necrobiosis lipoidica (NL) is a rare and chronic disease characterised by yellow-brown, atrophic, telangiectatic plaques usually located on the lower extremities, with pathological features of collagen necrobiosis and dermal inflammation. Most cases are seen in those with diabetes mellitus, particularly type 1 diabetes (T1DM), and many without diabetes have evidence of abnormal glucose tolerance or family history of autoimmune disease. In this study, we describe four patients with NL and T1DM. A common theme is late identification and delay in diagnosis. Hence, we discuss the clinical features, need for clinicopathological correlation, and the management and prognostic implications for this distinctive entity. While most remain relatively asymptomatic, others progress to debilitating disease with pruritus, dysesthesia, and pain. Pain is often intense in the presence of ulcerated plaques, a morbid complication of NL. Diagnosis requires the integration of both clinical and histopathological findings. NL has proven a challenging condition to treat, and despite the numerous therapeutic modalities available, there is no standard of care. Hence, in this study, we provide an overview of current management strategies available for NL.

Learning points

  • Necrobiosis lipoidica (NL) is classically seen in patients with type 1 diabetes.

  • Koebner phenomenon, defined as the appearance of new skin lesions on previously unaffected skin secondary to trauma, is a well-recognised feature in NL.

  • Background skin phototype contributes to variable yellow appearance of lesions in NL.

  • Diagnosis of NL requires careful clinicopathological correlation.

  • NL is a chronic disease often refractory to treatment leading to significant morbidity for the patient and a management conundrum for the multidisciplinary healthcare team.

  • No standard therapeutic regimen has been established for the management of NL.

Open access

Adam I Kaplan, Catherine Luxford, and Roderick J Clifton-Bligh

Summary

Biallelic pathological variants in the thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) subunit β gene (TSHB) result in isolated TSH deficiency and secondary hypothyroidism, a rare form of central congenital hypothyroidism (CCH), with an estimated incidence of 1 in 65 000 births. It is characterised by low levels of free thyroxine and inappropriately low serum TSH and may therefore be missed on routine neonatal screening for hypothyroidism, which relies on elevated TSH. We describe a patient with CCH who developed recurrence of pituitary hyperplasia and symptomatic hypothyroidism due to poor compliance with thyroxine replacement. She was diagnosed with CCH as a neonate and had previously required trans-sphenoidal hypophysectomy surgery for pituitary hyperplasia associated with threatened chiasmal compression at 17 years of age due to variable adherence to thyroxine replacement. Genetic testing of TSHB identified compound heterozygosity with novel variant c.217A>C, p.(Thr73Pro), and a previously reported variant c.373delT, p.(Cys125Valfs*10). Continued variable adherence to treatment as an adult resulted in recurrence of significant pituitary hyperplasia, which subsequently resolved with improved compliance without the need for additional medications or repeat surgery. This case describes a novel TSHB variant associated with CCH and demonstrates the importance of consistent compliance with thyroxine replacement to treat hypothyroidism and prevent pituitary hyperplasia in central hypothyroidism.

Learning points

  • Pathogenic variants in the TSH subunit β gene (TSHB) are rare causes of central congenital hypothyroidism (CCH).

  • c.217A>C, p.(Thr73Pro), is a novel TSHB variant, presented in association with CCH in this case report.

  • Thyroxine replacement is critical to prevent clinical hypothyroidism and pituitary hyperplasia.

  • Pituitary hyperplasia can recur post-surgery if adherence to thyroxine replacement is not maintained.

  • Pituitary hyperplasia can dramatically reverse if compliance with thyroxine replacement is improved to maintain free thyroxine (FT4) levels in the middle-to-upper normal range, without the need for additional medications or surgeries.

Open access

Inês Vieira, Sofia Lopes, Margarida Bastos, Luísa Ruas, Dírcea Rodrigues, and Isabel Paiva

Summary

The coexistence of neurofibromatosis type 1 (NFT1) and Turner syndrome (TS) has only been reported in a few patients and may represent a diagnostic challenge. We describe the case of a 16-year-old girl, with a prior clinical diagnosis of NFT1, who was referred to Endocrinology appointments for the etiological study of primary amenorrhea. Evaluation of the anterior pituitary function was requested and hypergonadotropic hypogonadism was detected. During the etiological study, a 45X karyotype was found and TS was diagnosed. The fact that NFT1 can also be associated with short stature, short broad neck and hypertelorism was likely responsible for TS being diagnosed in late adolescence. As both TS and NFT1 are relatively common genetic disorders, it is important to be alert to the possibility that the presence of one disease does not invalidate the other.

Learning points

  • The concomitant presence of two syndromes in the same patient is unlikely and represents a diagnostic challenge.

  • Some phenotypic characteristics and clinical manifestations may be shared by several syndromes.

  • Some syndromes, such as neurofibromatosis type 1 may have very heterogeneous presentations.

  • It is important to be alert to the characteristics that are not explained by the initial diagnosis.

  • If such features are present, diagnostic work-up must be performed regardless of the initial syndromic diagnosis.

Open access

Mone Murashita, Norio Wada, Shuhei Baba, Hajime Sugawara, Arina Miyoshi, and Shinji Obara

Summary

We report a 26-year-old Japanese man who visited our outpatient clinic presenting fever immediately after i.m. injection of the second dose of a coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccine (Moderna®). At the first visit, the patient had a fever of 37.7°C and a swollen thyroid gland with mild tenderness. He was diagnosed with subacute thyroiditis (SAT) based on the presence of thyrotoxicosis (free tri-iodothyronine, 32.3 pg/mL; free thyroxine, >7.77 ng/dL; and thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) < 0.01 μIU/mL), high C-reactive protein level (7.40 mg/dL), negative TSH receptor antibody, and characteristic ultrasound findings. His HLA types were A*02:01/24:02, B*15:11/35:01, Cw*03:03, DRB1*09:01/12:01, DQB1*03:03, and DPB1*05: 01/41:01. He was initially administered prednisolone 15 mg/day, following which the fever subsided. After 10 days, he developed limb weakness and could not walk. The serum potassium level decreased to 1.8 mEq/L, which confirmed the diagnosis of thyrotoxic periodic paralysis (TPP). Potassium supplementation was initiated. The muscle weakness gradually decreased. Prednisolone therapy was terminated 6 weeks after the first visit. His thyroid function returned to normal 5 months after the first visit, through a hypothyroid state. To our knowledge, this is the first reported case of TPP-associated SAT following COVID-19 vaccination. Persistent fever following vaccination should be suspected of SAT. Additionally, TPP may be associated with SAT in Asian male patients.

Learning points

  • Following coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccination, subacute thyroiditis may develop regardless of the vaccine type.

  • If persistent fever, anterior neck pain, swelling and tenderness of thyroid gland, and symptoms of thyrotoxicosis are observed immediately after the COVID-19 vaccination, examination in consideration of the onset of subacute thyroiditis is recommended.

  • HLA-B35 may be associated with the onset of subacute thyroiditis after the COVID-19 vaccination.

  • Although rare, subacute thyroiditis can be associated with thyrotoxic periodic paralysis, especially in Asian men.

  • Glucocorticoid therapy for subacute thyroiditis may induce thyrotoxic periodic paralysis through hypokalemia.

Open access

Maheswaran Dhanasekaran, Siddharth Narayanan, Ioannis Mastoris, and Suchita Mehta

Summary

Sodium-glucose cotransporter-2 inhibitors (SGLT2i) induce osmotic diuresis by inhibiting the proximal renal tubular reabsorption of the filtered glucose load, which in turn can occasionally lead to severe dehydration and hypotension amidst other adverse effects. We present a case of a 49-year-old man with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2D) on canagliflozin, a SGLT2i. The patient was brought to the emergency room following a motor vehicle accident. He was confused and had an altered mental status. His blood alcohol and urine toxicology screens were negative. Initial investigations revealed that he had severe hyponatremia with euglycemic ketoacidosis. The adverse condition was reversed with close monitoring and timely management, and the patient was eventually discharged. This is the first report to suggest hyponatremia as a potentially serious adverse effect following SGLT2i therapy. Its impact on the renal tubule handling of sodium and water is not yet well characterized. While further studies are warranted to understand better the pathophysiological mechanisms associated with SGLT2i-induced adverse effects, timely dose reduction or perhaps even its temporary discontinuation may be recommended to prevent complications.

Learning points

  • Sodium-glucose cotransporter-2 inhibitors (SGLT2i) are usually well-tolerated, but some serious adverse effects have been documented.

  • Our case report suggests hyponatremia as a potential, rare side effect of SGLT2i and makes physicians aware of the occurrence of such life-threatening but preventable complications.

  • Timely and close monitoring of the patient, with temporary discontinuation of this drug, may be recommended towards effective management.

  • Studies demonstrating a comprehensive understanding of SGLT2i-related electrolyte derangements are warranted.

Open access

Minna Koivikko, Tapani Ebeling, Markus Mäkinen, Juhani Leppäluoto, Antti Raappana, Petteri Ahtiainen, and Pasi Salmela

Summary

Multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1 NM_001370259.2(MEN1):c.466G>C(p.Gly156Arg) is characterized by tumors of various endocrine organs. We report on a rare, growth hormone-releasing hormone (GHRH)-releasing pancreatic tumor in a MEN1 patient with a long-term follow-up after surgery. A 22-year-old male with MEN1 syndrome, primary hyperparathyroidism and an acromegalic habitus was observed to have a pancreatic tumor on abdominal CT scanning, growth hormone (GH) and insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF1) were elevated and plasma GHRH was exceptionally high. GHRH and GH were measured before the treatment and were followed during the study. During octreotide treatment, IGF1 normalized and the GH curve was near normal. After surgical treatment of primary hyperparathyroidism, a pancreatic tail tumor was enucleated. The tumor cells were positive for GHRH antibody staining. After the operation, acromegaly was cured as judged by laboratory tests. No reactivation of acromegaly has been seen during a 20-year follow-up. In conclusion, an ectopic GHRH-producing, pancreatic endocrine neoplasia may represent a rare manifestation of MEN1 syndrome.

Learning points

  • Clinical suspicion is in a key position in detecting acromegaly.

  • Remember genetic disorders with young individuals having primary hyperparathyroidism.

  • Consider multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1 syndrome when a person has several endocrine neoplasia.

  • Acromegaly may be of ectopic origin with patients showing no abnormalities in radiological imaging of the pituitary gland.

Open access

Nam Quang Tran, Chien Cong Phan, Thao Thi Phuong Doan, and Thang Viet Tran

Summary

Primary adrenal insufficiency is a rare disease and can masquerade as other conditions; therefore, it is sometimes incorrectly diagnosed. Herein, we reported the case of a 39-year-old Vietnamese male with primary adrenal insufficiency due to bilateral adrenal tuberculosis. The patient presented to the emergency room with acute adrenal crisis and a 3-day history of nausea, vomiting, epigastric pain, and diarrhoea with a background of 6 months of fatigue, weight loss, and anorexia. Abdominal CT revealed bilateral adrenal masses. Biochemically, unequivocal low morning plasma cortisol (<83 nmol/L) and high plasma adrenocorticotropic hormone levels were consistent with primary adrenal insufficiency. There was no evidence of malignancy or lymphoma. As the patient was from a tuberculosis-endemic area, extra-adrenal tuberculosis was excluded during the work up. A retroperitoneal laparoscopic left adrenalectomy was performed, and tuberculous adrenalitis was confirmed by the histopathological results. The patient was started on antituberculous therapy, in addition to glucocorticoid replacement. In conclusion, even without evidence of extra-adrenal tuberculosis, a diagnosis of bilateral adrenal tuberculosis is required. A histopathological examination has a significant role along with clinical judgement and hormonal workup in establishing a definitive diagnosis of adrenal tuberculosis without evidence of active extra-adrenal involvement.

Learning points

  • Primary adrenal insufficiency can be misdiagnosed as other mimicking diseases, such as gastrointestinal illness, leading to diagnostic pitfalls.

  • Adrenal insufficiency can be confirmed with significantly low morning plasma cortisol levels of <83 nmol/L without a dynamic short cosyntropin stimulation test.

  • Tuberculous adrenalitis is an uncommon treatable condition; however, it remains an important cause of primary adrenal insufficiency, especially in developing countries. In the absence of extra-adrenal involvement, adrenal biopsy plays a key role in the diagnostic process. Alternatively, adrenalectomy for histopathological purposes should be considered if CT scan-guided fine needle aspiration is infeasible in cases of small adrenal masses.

Open access

Farooq Khan and Mary Jane Brassill

Summary

There is emerging evidence of an association between COVID-19 vaccination and subacute thyroiditis. We present the case of a 42-year-old female healthcare worker who was diagnosed with subacute thyroiditis 4 days after receiving her second dose of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. Her clinical course followed the classical pattern for thyroiditis with spontaneous return to euthyroidism at 6 months post-presentation. The autoimmune/inflammatory syndrome induced by adjuvants has been implicated as a cause of autoimmune conditions post-vaccination and is a potential mechanism for subacute thyroiditis in our case.

Learning points

  • Subacute thyroiditis should be considered in all patients who receive any kind of vaccine for COVID-19 and subsequently develop symptoms or signs of hyperthyroidism or neck pain.

  • Subacute thyroiditis is a self-limiting condition, and recognising it is important as no specific thyroid treatment (antithyroid drugs or thyroid hormone replacement) is necessary for most patients.

  • The autoimmune/inflammatory syndrome induced by adjuvants may be an under-recognised cause of endocrinopathies and should particularly be considered post-vaccination.