The thyroid gland is resistant to microbial infection, because of its organ characteristics such as encapsulation, iodine content, and rich blood supply. Therefore, acute suppurative thyroiditis (AST), as a bacterial infection of the thyroid gland, is rarely seen. AST typically takes places on the left side the neck region in children, because of the coincidence of the left piriform sinus fistula, as a most common route of infection. AST is also usually seen in immunocompromised hosts. Herein, we report a rare case of AST in the right thyroid lobe of adult woman without any immunocompromised condition.
A 59-year-old woman was introduced to our hospital for the further examination with fever, sore throat, and right anterior neck swelling. The patient appeared not to be immunodeficient. Neck ultrasonography showed a 47-mm, hypoechoic, heterogeneous nodule with ill-defined margins and irregular form, suggesting a right thyroid malignant nodule. Fine needle aspiration (FNA) biopsy specimen revealed numerous number of neutrophils in the background without nuclear atypia. Based on the clinical course and cytology, AST was confirmed to be diagnosed. Complete response was obtained by an intravenous administration of antimicrobial agents within a week. Image findings such as CT scan did not show any piriform sinus fistula. Four months later, neck ultrasonography showed a significant decrease in size of the nodule in the right thyroid gland to 27 mm, but the lesion still resembled a malignant nodule. So, FNA was repeated again and cytological examination confirmed papillary thyroid carcinoma (PTC). The patient subsequently underwent total thyroidectomy and bilateral level D1 lymph node dissection. Histological findings revealed a 20-mm PTC in the right lobe with sternothyroid muscle invasion of the tumor.
This report represents a rare case of AST associated with PTC on the right side of thyroid gland, found in a healthy adult woman. The reason why AST coincided with malignant thyroid tumor is unclear. We have to take it into our account that malignant tumor may exist in the background when AST is identified on the right side of thyroid gland with a healthy subject.
Acute suppurative thyroiditis (AST) is a result of bacterial infection and represents a relatively rare condition in the thyroid gland. The thyroid gland is resistant to microbial infection, because of factors such as its encapsulation, iodine content, and rich blood supply [1, 2]. As a result, AST rarely develops in healthy individuals. Typically, AST is more likely to occur in children and in the left side of the neck. In 80% of patients with AST, the age at onset is before 10 years old (with 30% between birth and 2 years old), and only 8% occur in adulthood . The presence of a left piriform sinus fistula has been reported as important, as a potential route of infection . AST on the right side of thyroid gland in adults is thus rarely seen. We encountered a case of AST in the right lobe of the thyroid in a healthy woman. Moreover, AST developed against a background of papillary thyroid carcinoma (PTC).
Acute suppurative thyroiditis
Papillary thyroid carcinoma
Fine needle aspiration
Piriform sinus fistula
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Faculty of Medicine