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Nnennaya U Opara Emergency Medicine, Charleston Area Medical Centre, Institute for Academic Medicine, Charleston, West Virginia, USA

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Summary

Diabetes mellitus type 2 (DM-2) is one of the important causes of low-grade chronic inflammation (meta inflammation) seen in almost all tissues in the body. Other possible mechanisms involved in the development of lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS) with DM-2 are the hypertonicity of the peripheral sympathetic nerves and hyperinsulinemia effects on the autonomous nervous system activity. These further suggests that abnormalities in glucose homeostasis influence the hyperproliferation of the prostate cells resulting in benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). Similarly, hepatic steatosis, a form of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) prevalence among patients with DM-2, is as high as 75%. NAFLD has no symptoms in most diabetic patients. In this study, we present a case of a 64-year-old Black male who had worsening urinary urgency and hesitancy for 4 months, with increasing abdominal girth. Patient was found to have symptoms, diagnostic studies, and physical exam findings indicative of BPH and fatty liver disease. He was treated with hepato-protective medications, tighter control of his blood glucose levels, and blood pressure meds for 13 months. Upon follow-up, most of his symptoms were resolved. Timeline of BPH resolution and decrease in liver size following treatment suggest that DM-2 has a strong correlation with the development of BPH and fatty liver disease in most patients living with diabetes.

Learning points

  • Men with type 2 diabetes mellitus (DM-2) tend to have significantly lower serum PSA level, lower testosterone levels, and larger prostate volume compared to non-diabetic male patients.

  • Patients with DM-2 have higher prevalence of hepatic steatosis, liver cirrhosis, and end-stage liver failure.

  • The role of metformin in reducing hepatic steatosis as stated by several studies is yet to be validated as our patient has been on metformin for 22 years for the management of DM-2 with fatty liver disease.

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Ayesha Ghayur Department of Medicine, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

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Qurrat Elahi Department of Family Medicine, Pikeville Medicine Center, Pikeville, Kentucky, USA

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Chinmay Patel Department of Nephrology, Southern Kidney Associates, Shreveport, LA, USA

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Rishi Raj Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism, Department of Internal Medicine, Pikeville Medical Center, Pikeville, Kentucky, USA

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Summary

Hypothyroidism is a common medical condition and is often easily managed with excellent outcomes, when treated adequately. Compliance with levothyroxine (LT4) therapy is often compromised because of the need for a daily and lasting schedule. Overt rhabdomyolysis due to under-treatment or non-compliance is a rare occurrence. We report a case of rhabdomyolysis leading to acute kidney injury (AKI) on chronic kidney disease (CKD) requiring hemodialysis (HD) in a 68-year-old Caucasian male due to non-compliance with levothyroxine (LT4) therapy. Our patient 'ran out of levothyroxine' for approximately 4 weeks and developed gradually progressive muscle pain. The diagnosis of severe AKI due to rhabdomyolysis was made based on oliguria, elevated creatinine kinase (CK), and renal failure. Resuming the home dose of LT4 failed to correct CK levels, and there was a progressive decline in renal function. Although increasing doses of LT4 and three cycles of HD improved CK levels, they remained above baseline at the time of discharge. The patient recovered gradually and required HD for 4 weeks. CK levels normalized at 6 weeks. Through this case report, we highlight that non-compliance with LT4 therapy can lead to life-threatening complications such as renal failure and hence the need to educate patients on the significance of compliance with LT4 therapy should be addressed.

Learning points

  • Non-compliance to levothyroxine therapy is common and can lead to serious complications, including rhabdomyolysis.

  • Rhabdomyolysis is an uncommon presentation of hypothyroidism and severe rhabdomyolysis can result in renal failure requiring hemodialysis.

  • Rhabdomyolysis associated with hypothyroidism can be further exacerbated by concomitant use of statins.

Open access
Jean Marc Mizzi Mater Dei Hospital of Malta, Department of Medicine, Msida, Malta

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Christopher Rizzo Mater Dei Hospital of Malta, Department of Medicine, Msida, Malta

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Stephen Fava Mater Dei Hospital of Malta, Department of Medicine, Msida, Malta

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Summary

An 82-year-old female was admitted to a general hospital due to progressive bilateral lower limb weakness. A T8–T9 extramedullary meningioma was diagnosed by MRI, and the patient was referred for excision of the tumour. During the patient’s admission, she was noted to have persistent hyperkalaemia which was refractory to treatment. Following a review by an endocrinology team, a diagnosis of pseudohyperkalaemia secondary to thrombocytosis was made. This case demonstrates the importance of promptly identifying patients who are susceptible to pseudohyperkalaemia, in order to prevent its potentially serious consequences.

Learning points

  • Pseudohyperkalaemia should be considered in patients with unexplained or asymptomatic hyperkalaemia. It should also be considered in those patients who are resistant to the classical treatment of hyperkalaemia.

  • A diagnosis of pseudohyperkalaemia is considered when there is a difference of >0.4 mmol/L of potassium between serum and plasma potassium in the absence of symptoms and ECG changes.

  • In patients who are presenting with consistently elevated serum potassium levels, it may be beneficial to take venous blood gas and/ or plasma potassium levels to rule out pseudohyperkalaemia.

  • Pseudohyperkalaemia may subject patients to iatrogenic hypokalaemia which can be potentially fatal.

  • Pseudohyperkalaemia can occur secondary to thrombocytosis, red cell haemolysis due to improper blood letting techniques, leukaemia and lymphoma.

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Anna Luiza Galeazzi Rech Kantonsspital Sankt Gallen, Klinik für Allgemeine Innere Medizin/Hausarztmedizin, Sankt Gallen, Switzerland

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Yvon Stüve Kantonsspital Sankt Gallen, Klinik für Allgemeine Innere Medizin/Hausarztmedizin, Sankt Gallen, Switzerland

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Andreas Toepfer Kantonsspital Sankt Gallen, Klinik für Orthopädische Chirurgie und Traumatologie des Bewegungsapparts, Sankt Gallen, Switzerland

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Katrin E Schimke Kantonsspital Sankt Gallen, Klinik für Allgemeine Innere Medizin/Hausarztmedizin, Sankt Gallen, Switzerland

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Summary

Acute Charcot neuropathic osteoarthropathy (CN) is a clinical entity which can easily go unrecognized in its acute early stages due to lack of awareness and unspecific presentation. However, missing early diagnosis can lead to severe complications. We present the case of a 72-year-old male patient who went through the natural course of the disease unnoticed before the very eyes of his physicians leading to a tragic end. We aim to raise awareness for this rare diabetic complication, emphasizing the necessity of early diagnosis and adequate, interdisciplinary treatment.

Learning points:

  • Clinical signs and symptoms of acute Charcot neuropathic osteoarthropathy (CN).

  • Red flags.

  • Importance of early diagnosis and correct treatment.

  • Diagnostic challenges of acute CN.

  • Awareness of high morbidity and mortality.

Open access
Ohoud Al Mohareb Obesity, Endocrine and Metabolism Centre, King Fahad Medical City, Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

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Mussa H Al Malki Obesity, Endocrine and Metabolism Centre, King Fahad Medical City, Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

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O Thomas Mueller Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Molecular and Biochemical Section, All Children Hospital, St Petersburg, Florida, USA

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Imad Brema Obesity, Endocrine and Metabolism Centre, King Fahad Medical City, Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

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Summary

Resistance to thyroid hormone-beta (RTHbeta) is a rare inherited syndrome characterized by variable reduced tissue responsiveness to the intracellular action of triiodothyronine (T3), the active form of the thyroid hormone. The presentation of RTHbeta is quite variable and mutations in the thyroid hormone receptor beta (THR-B) gene have been detected in up to 90% of patients. The proband was a 34-year-old Jordanian male who presented with intermittent palpitations. His thyroid function tests (TFTs) showed a discordant profile with high free T4 (FT4) at 45.7 pmol/L (normal: 12–22), high free T3 (FT3) at 11.8 pmol/L (normal: 3.1–6.8) and inappropriately normal TSH at 3.19 mIU/L (normal: 0.27–4.2). Work up has confirmed normal alpha subunit of TSH of 0.1 ng/mL (normal <0.5) and pituitary MRI showed no evidence of a pituitary adenoma; however, there was an interesting coincidental finding of partially empty sella. RTHbeta was suspected and genetic testing confirmed a known mutation in the THR-B gene, where a heterozygous A to G base change substitutes valine for methionine at codon 310. Screening the immediate family revealed that the eldest son (5 years old) also has discordant thyroid function profile consistent with RTHbeta and genetic testing confirmed the same M310V mutation that his father harbored. Moreover, the 5-year-old son had hyperactivity, impulsivity and aggressive behavior consistent with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). This case demonstrates an unusual co-existence of RTHbeta and partially empty sella in the same patient which, to our knowledge, has not been reported before.

Learning points:

  • We report the coincidental occurrence of RTHbeta and a partially empty sella in the same patient that has not been previously reported.

  • TFTs should be done in all children who present with symptoms suggestive of ADHD as RTHbeta is a common finding in these children.

  • The management of children with ADHD and RTHbeta could be challenging for both pediatricians and parents and the administration of T3 with close monitoring may be helpful in some cases.

  • Incidental pituitary abnormalities do exist in patients with RTHbeta, although extremely rare, and should be evaluated thoroughly and separately.

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Bidhya Timilsina Department of Internal Medicine, Diabetes and Metabolism, Department of Medicine, Reading Hospital, Reading, Pennsylvania, USA

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Niranjan Tachamo Department of Internal Medicine, Diabetes and Metabolism, Department of Medicine, Reading Hospital, Reading, Pennsylvania, USA

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Prem Raj Parajuli Department of Internal Medicine, Diabetes and Metabolism, Department of Medicine, Reading Hospital, Reading, Pennsylvania, USA

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Ilan Gabriely Section of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism, Department of Medicine, Reading Hospital, Reading, Pennsylvania, USA

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Summary

A 74-year-old woman presented with progressive lethargy, confusion, poor appetite and abdominal pain. She was found to have non-PTH-mediated severe hypercalcemia with renal failure and metabolic alkalosis. Extensive workup for hypercalcemia to rule out alternate etiology was unrevealing. Upon further questioning, she was taking excess calcium carbonate (Tums) for her worsening heartburn. She was diagnosed with milk-alkali syndrome (MAS). Her hypercalcemia and alkalosis recovered completely with aggressive hydration along with improvement in her renal function. High index of suspicion should be maintained and history of drug and supplements, especially calcium ingestion, should be routinely asked in patients presenting with hypercalcemia to timely diagnose MAS and prevent unnecessary tests and treatments.

Learning points:

  • Suspect milk-alkali syndrome in patients with hypercalcemia, metabolic alkalosis and renal failure, especially in context of ingestion of excess calcium-containing supplements.

  • Careful history of over-the-counter medications, supplements and diet is crucial to diagnose milk-alkali syndrome.

  • Milk-alkali syndrome may cause severe hypercalcemia in up to 25–30% of cases.

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Adriana de Sousa Lages Departments of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism

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Isabel Paiva Departments of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism

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Patrícia Oliveira Departments of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism

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Francisco Portela Departments of Gastroenterology, Coimbra Hospital and University Center, Coimbra, Portugal

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Francisco Carrilho Departments of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism

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Summary

Insulinomas are the most frequent cause of hyperinsulinaemic hypoglycaemia. Although surgical enucleation is the standard treatment, a few other options are available to high-risk patients who are elderly or present with co-morbidities. We present a case report of an 89-year-old female patient who was admitted to the emergency department due to recurrent hypoglycaemia, especially during fasting. Laboratory work-up raised the suspicion of hyperinsulinaemic hypoglycaemia, and abdominal CT scan revealed a 12 mm nodular hypervascular lesion of the pancreatic body suggestive of neuroendocrine tumour. The patient was not considered a suitable candidate for surgery, and medical therapy with diazoxide was poorly tolerated. Endoscopic ultrasound-guided ethanol ablation therapy was performed and a total of 0.6 mL of 95% ethanol was injected into the lesion by a transgastric approach; no complications were reported after the procedure. At 5 months of follow-up, no episodes of hypoglycaemia were reported, no diazoxide therapy was necessary, and revaluation abdominal CT scan revealed a pancreatic nodular lesion with a size involution of about half of its original volume. The patient is regularly followed-up at the endocrinology clinic and shows a significant improvement in her wellbeing and quality of life.

Learning points:

  • Insulinomas are the most frequent cause of hyperinsulinaemic hypoglycaemia.

  • Surgical enucleation is the standard treatment with a few other options available to high-risk patients.

  • Endoscopic ultrasound-guided ethanol ablation therapy is one feasible option in high-risk patients with satisfactory clinical outcomes, significant positive impact on quality of life and low complication rates related to the procedure.

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Christine Yu Department of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California, 90095, USA

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Inder J Chopra Division of Endocrinology, Department of Medicine, University of California, 757 Westwood Plaza Blvd, Suite 7501, Los Angeles, CA, 90095, USA

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Edward Ha Department of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California, 90095, USA

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Summary

Ipilimumab, a novel therapy for metastatic melanoma, inhibits cytotoxic T-lymphocyte apoptosis, causing both antitumor activity and significant autoimmunity, including autoimmune thyroiditis. Steroids are frequently used in treatment of immune-related adverse events; however, a concern regarding the property of steroids to reduce therapeutic antitumor response exists. This study describes the first reported case of ipilimumab-associated thyroid storm and implicates iopanoic acid as an alternative therapy for immune-mediated adverse effects. An 88-year-old woman with metastatic melanoma presented with fatigue, anorexia, decreased functional status, and intermittent diarrhea for several months, shortly after initiation of ipilimumab – a recombinant human monoclonal antibody to the cytotoxic T-lymphocyte-associated antigen 4 (CTLA4). On arrival, she was febrile, tachycardic, and hypertensive with a wide pulse pressure, yet non-toxic appearing. She had diffuse, non-tender thyromegaly. An electrocardiogram (EKG) revealed supraventricular tachycardia. Blood, urine, and stool cultures were collected, and empiric antibiotics were started. A computed tomography (CT) angiogram of the chest was negative for pulmonary embolism or pneumonia, but confirmed a diffusely enlarged thyroid gland, which prompted thyroid function testing. TSH was decreased at 0.16 μIU/ml (normal 0.3–4.7); free tri-iodothyronine (T3) was markedly elevated at 1031 pg/dl (normal 249–405), as was free thyroxine (T4) at 5.6 ng/dl (normal 0.8–1.6). With iopanoic acid and methimazole therapy, she markedly improved within 48 h, which could be attributed to lowering of serum T3 with iopanoic acid rather than to any effect of the methimazole. Ipilimumab is a cause of overt thyrotoxicosis and its immune-mediated adverse effects can be treated with iopanoic acid, a potent inhibitor of T4-to-T3 conversion.

Learning points

  • While ipilimumab more commonly causes autoimmune thyroiditis, it can also cause thyroid storm and clinicians should include thyroid storm in their differential diagnosis for patients who present with systemic inflammatory response syndrome.

  • Immune-related adverse reactions usually occur after 1–3 months of ipilimumab and baseline thyroid function testing should be completed before initiation with ipilimumab.

  • Conflicting data exist on the use of prednisone for treatment of CTLA4 adverse effects and its attenuation of ipilimumab's antitumor effect. Iopanoic acid may be considered as an alternative therapy in this setting.

Open access
Anna Casteràs Department of Endocrinology, Hospital Universitari Vall d'Hebron, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Pg. Vall d'Hebron 119-129, Barcelona 08035, Spain

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Jürgen Kratzsch Institute of Laboratory Medicine, Clinical Chemistry and Molecular Diagnostics, University of Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany

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Ángel Ferrández Department of Pediatrics, Andrea Prader Centre, Hospital Universitario Miguel Servet, Zaragoza, Spain

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Carles Zafón
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Antonio Carrascosa Department of Pediatrics, Hospital Universitari Vall d'Hebron, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain

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Jordi Mesa
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Summary

Isolated GH deficiency type IA (IGHDIA) is an infrequent cause of severe congenital GHD, often managed by pediatric endocrinologists, and hence few cases in adulthood have been reported. Herein, we describe the clinical status of a 56-year-old male with IGHDIA due to a 6.7 kb deletion in GH1 gene that encodes GH, located on chromosome 17. We also describe phenotypic and biochemical parameters, as well as characterization of anti-GH antibodies after a new attempt made to treat with GH. The height of the adult patient was 123 cm. He presented with type 2 diabetes mellitus, dyslipidemia, osteoporosis, and low physical and psychological performance, compatible with GHD symptomatology. Anti-GH antibodies in high titers and with binding activity (>101 IU/ml) were found 50 years after exposure to exogenous GH, and their levels increased significantly (>200 U/ml) after a 3-month course of 0.2 mg/day recombinant human GH (rhGH) treatment. Higher doses of rhGH (1 mg daily) did not overcome the blockade, and no change in undetectable IGF1 levels was observed (<25 ng/ml). IGHDIA patients need lifelong medical surveillance, focusing mainly on metabolic disturbances, bone status, cardiovascular disease, and psychological support. Multifactorial conventional therapy focusing on each issue is recommended, as anti-GH antibodies may inactivate specific treatment with exogenous GH. After consideration of potential adverse effects, rhIGF1 treatment, even theoretically indicated, has not been considered in our patient yet.

Learning points

  • Severe isolated GHD may be caused by mutations in GH1 gene, mainly a 6.7 kb deletion.

  • Appearance of neutralizing anti-GH antibodies upon recombinant GH treatment is a characteristic feature of IGHDIA.

  • Recombinant human IGF1 treatment has been tested in children with IGHDIA with variable results in height and secondary adverse effects, but any occurrence in adult patients has not been reported yet.

  • Metabolic disturbances (diabetes and hyperlipidemia) and osteoporosis should be monitored and properly treated to minimize cardiovascular disease and fracture risk.

  • Cerebral magnetic resonance imaging should be repeated in adulthood to detect morphological abnormalities that may have developed with time, as well as pituitary hormones periodically assessed.

Open access
Caterina Policola Department of Endocrinology and Metabolic Diseases, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Rome, Italy

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Victoria Stokes Oxford Centre for Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolism, Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust, Old Road, Oxford OX3 7LE, UK

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Niki Karavitaki Oxford Centre for Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolism, Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust, Old Road, Oxford OX3 7LE, UK

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Ashley Grossman Oxford Centre for Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolism, Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust, Old Road, Oxford OX3 7LE, UK

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Summary

Opiate drugs such as morphine are in extensive use for pain relief and palliation. It is well established that these drugs can cause changes in endocrine function, but such effects are not always sufficiently appreciated in clinical practice, especially in relation to the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal (HPA) axis. Herein, we report on an 18-year-old man who was diagnosed with a slipped left femoral epiphysis following a long history of pain in his leg. On examination, he was thought to look relatively young for his age and therefore the orthopaedic surgeons arranged an endocrine assessment, which showed an undetectable concentration of serum cortisol and a suppressed concentration of testosterone; therefore, he was referred urgently with a diagnosis of hypopituitarism. We elicited a history that he had been treated with opiate analgesics for 3 days at the time of his original blood tests. Full endocrine assessment including a short Synacthen test revealed that he now had normal adrenal and pituitary function. We conclude that his morphine therapy had caused profound suppression of his HPA and pituitary–gonadal axes and suggest that clinicians should be aware of these significant changes in patients on even short-term opiate therapy.

Learning points

  • Therapy with opiates is the standard therapy for severe acute and chronic pain.

  • Such drugs cause profound changes in endocrine function.

  • Importantly, opiates suppress the HPA axis at a central level.

  • Short-term therapy with morphine could be the cause of biochemical adrenocortical insufficiency.

  • Morphine and related drugs also suppress the pituitary–gonadal axis.

  • After discontinuation of therapy with such drugs, adrenal function improves.

Open access