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BACKGROUND: Surgical treatment of Graves’ disease (GD) has increased risk for bleeding, hypothyroidism and recurrent laryngeal nerve (RLN) palsy compared to other benign thyroidectomy indications. Nevertheless, it can be done safely in high volume centers. In some particular cases (i.e., anti-thyroid drug intolerance or thyrotoxicosis), urgent surgical treatment might be needed. In this study, we aimed to compare the complications of thyroidectomy in urgent and elective management of Graves’ disease.
METHODS: The patients, who underwent total thyroidectomy due to Graves’ disease between 2012-2019 (n=113) were evaluated retrospectively in terms of demographics, pre-operative laboratory results, management, hospital admissions, operative and post-operative short-term outcomes, morbidity and mortality. Patients who were hospitalized to endocrinology department due to uncontrollable hyperthyroidism and related complications and who were prepared for surgery with Lugol’s solution, plasmapheresis and steroids were considered as Urgent Group (n=12). Remaining 101 patients who underwent elective surgery considered as Elective Group. Surgical short-term outcomes, morbidity and mortality rates were compared.
RESULTS: Of the 113 patients who were operated for GD, 92 were female and 21 were male. In urgently operated group, FT4 and FT3 levels were significantly higher (p<0.001 and p=0.001, respectively). There was no significant difference in transient or permanent hypocalcemia (p=0.821 and p=0.501, respectively), transient or permanent RLN palsy (p=0.356, p=0.634, respectively) and post-operative bleeding (p=0.338), between elective surgery and rapid optimization groups. CONCLUSION: Emergency surgery for Graves’ disease can be performed safely with the application of effective pre-operative treatment protocols.