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Propranolol in the treatment of thyrotoxicosis by subtotal thyroidectomy



Propranolol in the treatment of thyrotoxicosis by subtotal thyroidectomy



Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism 43(6): 1312-1316



Subtotal thyroidectomy was performed in 40 patients with thyrotoxicosis in whom propranolol alone was used as preparation for surgery. Propranolol was given orally in a dose of 40 mg every 6 h for a mean preoperative period of 17 days (range 4-60 days) and continued for seven days after operation. The mean +/- SE blood loss at operation was only 160 +/- 20 ml. The period of follow-up was from three to nine months. Recurrent thyrotoxicosis has not occurred in any patient. Low levels of total serum triiodothyronine (T3) and total serum thyroxine (T4) were observed in the early postoperative weeks in some patients and were associated with symptoms of mild hypothyroidism, but by six months in the presence of a raised serum thyrotropin (TSH) the thyroid hormone levels returned to normal. Permanent hypothyroidism developed in only two patients. Despite normal or low total serum T3 and T4 levels, the TSH response to thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH) was absent in all patients one week after operation. At four weeks and at eight weeks, the response was absent or sub-normal in 70% and 20% of the patients respectively, indicating a delay in the recovery of the hypothalamo-pituitary axis previously exposed to high levels of T3 and T4. It is considered that subtotal thyroidectomy for thyrotoxicosis in patients prepared with propranolol is an acceptable procedure which has some advantages over the conventional preparation with carbimazole and potassium iodide, not the least of which are the potential reduction in preparation time, the more flexible timing of operation, and the reduced operative blood loss.

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Accession: 041101580

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 826544

DOI: 10.1210/jcem-43-6-1312


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