Clinical features of spontaneous hypothyroidism in one physician’s practice in Jamaica
Rosemarie A Wright-Pascoe
Department of Medicine, The University of the West Indies, Kingston, Jamaica
Objective: To describe the clinical characteristics of patients with spontaneous hypothyroidism, the frequency of chronic autoimmune thyroiditis, and the thyroid autoantibody most often associated with this condition in a referral population in Jamaica.
Methods: A retrospective study of all cases referred to the author’s endocrinology practice from 1995 to 2005 with a diagnosis of spontaneous hypothyroidism was undertaken. The clinical history, examination findings, biochemical test results, thyroid autoimmune antibodies, and imaging data were reviewed.
Results: Spontaneous primary hypothyroidism was correctly diagnosed in 53 subjects. Fifty of the patients were females and three were males. Mean age was 43.3 years (range 12–82 years); 24.4% of the patients had a family member with thyroid disease; 27.1% presented because of a goiter; and 54.2% because of symptoms suggestive of hypothyroidism. The thyroid was palpable in 56.3% and thyroid ultrasound was consistent with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis on 64% of occasions. Only 8% of the patients had the atrophic variant of hypothyroidism. Antithyroid peroxidase and antithyroglobulin antibody were positive in 75.8% and 37.5% of patients, respectively. Chronic autoimmune thyroiditis was confirmed in 78.8% of cases.
Conclusion: In these cases in Jamaica, spontaneous hypothyroidism was predominantly a female disorder. Chronic autoimmune thyroiditis was the commonest cause, and antithyroid peroxidase antibody was the thyroid antibody most likely to be positive in this population.
Keywords: spontaneous hypothyroidism, Jamaican, thyroid autoantibodies, L-thyroxine, autoimmune thyroiditis, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis
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