Thyrotoxic storm; Thyrotoxic crisis; Hyperthyroid storm; Accelerated hyperthyroidism; Thyroid crisis; Thyrotoxicosis - thyroid storm
Thyroid storm is a rare life-threatening condition of the thyroid gland. It develops in cases of untreated hyperthyroidism, or overactive thyroid (thyrotoxicosis).
The thyroid gland is located in the neck, just above where your collarbones meet in the middle.
Thyroid storm occurs in people with uncontrolled hyperthyroidism due to a major stress such as:
Rarely, thyroid storm can be caused by radioactive iodine therapy for Graves disease. This can occur even a week or more after treatment.
Symptoms are severe and may include any of the following:
The health care provider may suspect thyrotoxic storm based on:
Other blood tests are done to check heart and kidney functions and to check for infection. Liver function tests provide added diagnosis and treatment information.
Thyroid storm is a medical emergency. It is life threatening. Often, the person needs to be admitted to the intensive care unit. Treatment may include:
The goal of treatment is to decrease thyroid hormone levels in the blood. Sometimes, high doses of iodine is given to try and stun the thyroid. Other drugs known as thionamides may be given to lower the hormone level in the blood. Beta blocker medicines are often given by vein (IV) to slow the heart rate, lower blood pressure, and block the effects of the thyroid hormone excess. In some severe cases, glucocorticoids (steroids) are given.
Antibiotics are given in case of infection.
This is an emergency condition. Call 911 or the local emergency number if you have hyperthyroidism and experience symptoms of thyroid storm.
To prevent thyroid storm, hyperthyroidism should be treated.
Jonklaas J, Cooper DS. Thyroid. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 26th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 213.
Marino M, Vitti P, Chiovato L. Graves' disease. In: Jameson JL, De Groot LJ, de Kretser DM, et al, eds. Endocrinology: Adult and Pediatric. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 82.
Tallini G, Giordano TJ. Thyroid gland. In: Goldblum JR, Lamps LW, McKenney JK, Myers JL, eds. Rosai and Ackerman's Surgical Pathology. 11th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:chap 8.
Thiessen MEW. Thyroid and adrenal disorders. In: Walls RM, Hockberger RS, Gausche-Hill M, eds. Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:chap 120.BACK TO TOP
Review Date: 2/1/2022
Reviewed By: Sandeep K. Dhaliwal, MD, board-certified in Diabetes, Endocrinology, and Metabolism, Springfield, VA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
Health Content Provider
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- 2023 A.D.A.M., a business unit of Ebix, Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.