Severe hyperthyroidism without symptoms due to nonthyroidal illness in a child with acute hepatitis: case report and literature review

Olga Yeliosof, Ian Marshall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

While liver enzyme changes are frequently reported in hyperthyroidism, liver dysfunction itself can lead to alterations in thyroid hormone metabolism. However, the exact relationship between hyperthyroidism and liver dysfunction is unclear. We report an 11-year-old boy presenting with acute hepatitis of unknown etiology, who was incidentally found to have asymptomatic biochemical hyperthyroidism. Despite significant total and free T4 elevation, clinical evidence of thyrotoxicosis was absent. Thyroid I-123 uptake was also reduced. Additional testing revealed slight T3 elevation and significant rT3 elevation. Graves' and Hashimoto's thyroiditis testing was negative. We hypothesize that the biochemical hyperthyroidism was due to transient thyroiditis. Although an etiology for the boy's hepatitis was never determined, and an undiagnosed infectious etiology causing subacute thyroiditis was considered, subsequent testing showing positive thyroid peroxidase antibodies, suggesting autoimmune Hashimoto's thyroiditis as the likely cause of the hyperthyroidism. We believe, furthermore, that the absence of symptoms was the result of concurrent nonthyroidal illness resulting in the biochemical findings of slight T3 elevation and significant rT3 increase despite significant T4 elevation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5-11
Number of pages7
JournalAnnals of the New York Academy of Sciences
Volume1487
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 26 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • History and Philosophy of Science

Keywords

  • hepatitis
  • hyperthyroidism
  • nonthyroidal illness
  • thyroiditis

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