Mass effect from a goiter is a serious complication with potentially life-threatening consequences. In rare instances, a goiter can compress nearby vessels, compromising cerebral blood flow, which can lead to an ischemic stroke. Ischemic strokes generally occur due to atherogenic or embolic phenomenon, albeit a rare etiology can be due to a mechanical obstruction of great vessels of the neck that provide blood supply to the brain. An unusual example of a similar obstruction is the mass effect of an expansive goiter on the carotid artery (CA) in the neck. We present a rare case of a 90-year-old female who had a historically untreated goiter for 13 years. She presented with symptoms of acute stroke, including right-sided weakness and dysarthria. CT angiogram of the neck revealed a massively enlarged thyroid gland causing compression and intermittent obstruction of the blood flow in the left common CA. Subsequently, the patient underwent a total thyroidectomy. Postoperatively, she had a remarkable recovery of her symptoms of right-sided weakness and dysarthria. Acknowledging stroke as a grave mechanical complication of a large multinodular goiter is crucial for timely and appropriate management to avoid serious consequences.
The natural history of euthyroid multinodular goiters include progressive, abnormal goiter which occurs when it obstructs the carotid artery (CA) and compromises cerebral blood flow.
Timely diagnosis and surgical management of an enlarging goiter compressing the CA can reduce morbidity from an ischemic stroke.
Ischemic stroke is a rare and dangerous complication of a giant multinodular goiter.