Algorithm for Diagnosing Hyperthyroidism

Clinical hyperthyroidism, also called thyrotoxicosis, is caused by the effects of excess thyroid hormone and can be triggered by different disorders. Etiologic diagnosis influences prognosis and therapy.

The most common cause of hyperthyroidism is Graves’ disease. Other common causes include thyroiditis, toxic multinodular goiter, toxic adenomas, and side effects of certain medications. The diagnostic workup begins with a thyroid-stimulating hormone level test. When test results are uncertain, measuring radionuclide uptake helps distinguish among possible causes.

 

References:

  1. Bahn Chair RS, Burch HB, Cooper DS, Garber JR, Greenlee MC, Klein I, Laurberg P, McDougall IR, Montori VM, Rivkees SA, Ross DS, Sosa JA, Stan MN; American Thyroid Association; American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists. Hyperthyroidism and other causes of thyrotoxicosis: management guidelines of the American Thyroid Association and American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists. Thyroid. 2011 Jun;21(6):593-646. [Medline]
  2. Pantalone KM, Nasr C. Approach to a low TSH level: patience is a virtue. Cleve Clin J Med. 2010 Nov;77(11):803-11. [Medline]
  3. Reid JR, Wheeler SF. Hyperthyroidism: diagnosis and treatment. Am Fam Physician. 2005 Aug 15;72(4):623-30. [Medline]

Created Dec 20, 2011.

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