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Albert S Kim Department of Diabetes and Endocrinology, Westmead Hospital, Westmead, New South Wales, Australia
The University of Sydney, Faculty of Medicine and Health, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

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Rashida Hakeem Department of Maternal-Fetal Medicine, Westmead Institute for Maternal-Fetal Medicine, Westmead Hospital, Westmead, New South Wales, Australia

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Azaliya Abdullah Department of Maternal-Fetal Medicine, Westmead Institute for Maternal-Fetal Medicine, Westmead Hospital, Westmead, New South Wales, Australia

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Amanda J Hooper School of Medicine, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Western Australia, Perth, Western Australia, Australia
Department of Clinical Biochemistry, PathWest Laboratory Medicine WA, Royal Perth Hospital and Fiona Stanley Hospital Network, Perth, Western Australia, Australia

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Michel C Tchan The University of Sydney, Faculty of Medicine and Health, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Department of Genetic Medicine, Westmead Hospital, Westmead, New South Wales, Australia

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Thushari I Alahakoon The University of Sydney, Faculty of Medicine and Health, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Department of Maternal-Fetal Medicine, Westmead Institute for Maternal-Fetal Medicine, Westmead Hospital, Westmead, New South Wales, Australia

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Christian M Girgis Department of Diabetes and Endocrinology, Westmead Hospital, Westmead, New South Wales, Australia
The University of Sydney, Faculty of Medicine and Health, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Department of Diabetes and Endocrinology, Royal North Shore Hospital, St Leonards, New South Wales, Australia

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Summary

A 19-year-old female presented at 25-weeks gestation with pancreatitis. She was found to have significant hypertriglyceridaemia in context of an unconfirmed history of familial hypertriglyceridaemia. This was initially managed with fasting and insulin infusion and she was commenced on conventional interventions to lower triglycerides, including a fat-restricted diet, heparin, marine oil and gemfibrozil. Despite these measures, the triglyceride levels continued to increase as she progressed through the pregnancy, and it was postulated that she had an underlying lipoprotein lipase defect. Therefore, a multidisciplinary decision was made to commence therapeutic plasma exchange to prevent further episodes of pancreatitis. She underwent a total of 13 sessions of plasma exchange, and labour was induced at 37-weeks gestation in which a healthy female infant was delivered. There was a rapid and significant reduction in triglycerides in the 48 h post-delivery. Subsequent genetic testing of hypertriglyceridaemia genes revealed a missense mutation of the LPL gene. Fenofibrate and rosuvastatin was commenced to manage her hypertriglyceridaemia postpartum and the importance of preconception counselling for future pregnancies was discussed. Hormonal changes in pregnancy lead to an overall increase in plasma lipids to ensure adequate nutrient delivery to the fetus. These physiological changes become problematic, where a genetic abnormality in lipid metabolism exists and severe complications such as pancreatitis can arise. Available therapies for gestational hypertriglyceridaemia rely on augmentation of LPL activity. Where there is an underlying LPL defect, these therapies are ineffective and removal of triglyceride-rich lipoproteins via plasma exchange should be considered.

Learning points:

  • Hormonal changes in pregnancy, mediated by progesterone,oestrogen and human placental lactogen, lead to a two- to three-fold increase in serum triglyceride levels.

  • Pharmacological intervention for management of gestational hypertriglyceridaemia rely on the augmentation of lipoprotein lipase (LPL) activity to enhance catabolism of triglyceride-rich lipoproteins.

  • Genetic mutations affecting the LPL gene can lead to severe hypertriglyceridaemia.

  • Therapeutic plasma exchange (TPE) is an effective intervention for the management of severe gestational hypertriglyceridaemia and should be considered in cases where there is an underlying LPL defect.

  • Preconception counselling and discussion regarding contraception is of paramount importance in women with familial hypertriglyceridaemia.

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Huilin Koh Department of Endocrinology, Singapore General Hospital, Singapore, Singapore

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Manish Kaushik Department of Renal Medicine, Singapore General Hospital, Singapore, Singapore

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Julian Kenrick Loh Department of Cardiology, National Heart Centre Singapore, Singapore, Singapore

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Chiaw Ling Chng Department of Endocrinology, Singapore General Hospital, Singapore, Singapore

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Summary

Thyroid storm with multi-organ failure limits the use of conventional treatment. A 44-year-old male presented with thyroid storm and experienced cardiovascular collapse after beta-blocker administration, with resultant fulminant multi-organ failure requiring inotropic support, mechanical ventilation, extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) and continuous renal replacement therapy. Hepatic and renal failure precluded the use of conventional thyroid storm treatment and early plasma exchange was instituted. The patient underwent emergency thyroidectomy after four effective exchanges, with subsequent rapid reversal of multi-organ failure. The challenges of institution of plasma exchanges with ongoing ECMO support, dialysis and timing of thyroidectomy are discussed. This case highlights the important role of early therapeutic plasma exchange (TPE) as an effective salvage therapy for lowering circulating hormones and stabilization of patients in preparation for emergency thyroidectomy in patients with thyroid storm and fulminant multi-organ failure.

Learning points:

  • Administration of beta-blockers in thyroid storm presenting with congestive cardiac failure may precipitate cardiovascular collapse due to inhibition of thyroid-induced hyperadrenergic compensation which maintains cardiac output.

  • TPE can be an effective bridging therapy to emergency total thyroidectomy when conventional thyroid storm treatment is contraindicated.

  • End-organ support using ECMO and CRRT can be combined with TPE effectively in the management of critically ill cases of thyroid storm.

  • The effectiveness of plasma exchange in lowering thyroid hormones appears to wane after 44–48 h of therapy in this case, highlighting the importance early thyroidectomy.

Open access
Maryam Heidarpour Isfahan University of Medical Sciences Isfahan Endocrine and Metabolism Research Center Ringgold Standard Institution, Isfahan, Iran

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Mehdi Karami Isfahan University of Medical Sciences Isfahan Endocrine and Metabolism Research Center Ringgold Standard Institution, Isfahan, Iran

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Pegah Hedayat Isfahan University of Medical Sciences Isfahan Endocrine and Metabolism Research Center Ringgold Standard Institution, Isfahan, Iran

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Ashraf Aminorroaya Isfahan University of Medical Sciences Isfahan Endocrine and Metabolism Research Center Ringgold Standard Institution, Isfahan, Iran

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Summary

Primary hyperparathyroidism revealed by thoracic spine brown tumor and peptic ulcer bleeding is rare. We presented a case of 33-year-old male patient who was admitted with paraplegia. Thoracic spine magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) showed extradural lesion at T4 level. He underwent surgical decompression in T4. According to histopathologic finding and elevated serum parathormone (PTH) and hypercalcemia (total serum calcium 12.1 mg/dL), the diagnosis of brown tumor was down. Ultrasonography of his neck showed a well-defined lesion of 26 × 14 × 6 mm. The day after surgery, he experienced 2 episodes of melena. Bedside upper gastrointestinal endoscopy showed gastric peptic ulcer with visible vessel. Treatment with intragastric local instillation of epinephrine and argon plasma coagulation was done to stop bleeding. After stabilization of the patient, parathyroidectomy was performed. Histologic study showed the parathyroid adenoma without any manifestation of malignancy. At discharge, serum calcium was normal (8.6 mg/dL). On 40th day of discharge, standing and walking status was normal.

Learning points:

  • Thoracic spine involvement is a very rare presentation of primary hyperparathyroidism.

  • The issue of whether primary hyperparathyroidism increases the risk of peptic ulcer disease remains controversial. However, gastrointestinal involvement has been reported in association with classic severe primary hyperparathyroidism.

  • The treatment of brown tumor varies from case to case.

Open access
Han Soo Park Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism

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Su Kyoung Kwon Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism

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Ye Na Kim Division of Nephrology, Kosin University College of Medicine, Busan, Republic of Korea

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Summary

Thyroid storm is a rare and potentially life-threatening medical emergency. We experienced a case of thyroid storm associated with sepsis caused by pneumonia, which had a catastrophic course including recurrent cardiac arrest and subsequent multiple organ failure (MOF). A 22-year-old female patient with a 10-year history of Graves’ disease was transferred to our emergency department (ED). She had a cardiac arrest at her home and a second cardiac arrest at the ED. Her heart recovered after 20 min of cardiac resuscitation. She was diagnosed with thyroid storm associated with hyperthyroidism complicated by pneumonia and sepsis. Although full conventional medical treatment was given, she had progressive MOF and hemodynamic instability consisting of hyperthermia, tachycardia and hypotension. Because of hepatic and renal failure with refractory hypotension, we reduced the patient’s dose of beta-blocker and antithyroid drug, and she was started on continuous veno-venous renal replacement therapy (CRRT) with intravenous albumin and plasma supplementation. Subsequently, her body temperature and pulse rate began to stabilize within 1 h, and her blood pressure reached 120/60 mmHg after 6 h. We discontinued antithyroid drug 3 days after admission because of aggravated hyperbilirubinemia. The patient exhibited progressive improvement in thyroid function even after cessation of antithyroid drug, and she successfully recovered from thyroid storm and MOF. This is the first case of thyroid storm successfully treated by CRRT in a patient considered unfit for antithyroid drug treatment.

Learning points:

  • The presenting manifestations of thyroid storm vary and can include cardiac arrest with multiorgan failure in rare cases.

  • In some patients with thyroid storm, especially those with severe complications, conventional medical treatment may be ineffective or inappropriate.

  • During thyroid storm, the initiation of CRRT can immediately lower body temperature and subsequently stabilize vital signs.

  • Early initiation of CRRT can be life-saving in patients with thyroid storm complicated by MOF, even when used in combination with suboptimal medical treatment.

Open access
Jin-Ying Lu Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Department of Internal Medicine, National Taiwan University Hospital, Taipei, 100, Taiwan

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Po-Ju Hung Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Department of Internal Medicine, National Taiwan University Hospital, Taipei, 100, Taiwan

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Pei-Lung Chen Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Department of Internal Medicine, National Taiwan University Hospital, Taipei, 100, Taiwan
Department of Medical Genetics, National Taiwan University Hospital, Taipei, 100, Taiwan
Graduate Institute of Medical Genomics and Proteomics, National Taiwan University, Taipei, 100, Taiwan
Graduate Institute of Clinical Medicine, National Taiwan University, Taipei, 100, Taiwan
Research Center for Developmental Biology and Regenerative Medicine, National Taiwan University, Taipei, 100, Taiwan

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Ruoh-Fang Yen Department of Nuclear Medicine, National Taiwan University, Taipei, 100, Taiwan

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Kuan-Ting Kuo Graduate Institute of Pathology, College of Medicine, National Taiwan University, Taipei, 100, Taiwan
Department of Pathology, National Taiwan University Hospital, Taipei, 100, Taiwan

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Tsung-Lin Yang Department of Otolaryngology, National Taiwan University Hospital, Taipei, 100, Taiwan

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Chih-Yuan Wang Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Department of Internal Medicine, National Taiwan University Hospital, Taipei, 100, Taiwan

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Tien-Chun Chang Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Department of Internal Medicine, National Taiwan University Hospital, Taipei, 100, Taiwan
Department of Medicine, College of Medicine, National Taiwan University, Taipei, 100, Taiwan

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Tien-Shang Huang Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Department of Internal Medicine, National Taiwan University Hospital, Taipei, 100, Taiwan
Department of Medicine, College of Medicine, National Taiwan University, Taipei, 100, Taiwan
Department of Social Medicine, College of Medicine, National Taiwan University, Taipei, 100, Taiwan
Department of Medicine, Cathay General Hospital, Taipei, 106, Taiwan

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Ching-Chung Chang Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Department of Internal Medicine, National Taiwan University Hospital, Taipei, 100, Taiwan
Department of Medicine, College of Medicine, National Taiwan University, Taipei, 100, Taiwan
Department of Internal Medicine, China Medical University Hospital, Taichung, 404, Taiwan
Department of Internal Medicine, China Medical University, Taichung, 404, Taiwan

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Summary

We report a case of follicular thyroid carcinoma with concomitant NRAS p.Q61K and GNAS p.R201H mutations, which manifested as a 13.5 cm thyroid mass with lung, humerus and T9 spine metastases, and exhibited good response to radioactive iodine treatment.

Learning points

  • GNAS p.R201H somatic mutation is an activating or gain-of-function mutation resulting in constitutively activated Gs-alpha protein and downstream cAMP cascade, independent of TSH signaling, causing autonomously functioning thyroid nodules.

  • NRAS p.Q61K mutations with GNAS p.R201H mutations are known for a good radioactive iodine treatment response.

  • Further exploration of the GNAS-activating pathway may provide therapeutic insights into the treatment of metastatic follicular carcinoma.

Open access