Clinical Observations on the Solitary Autonomous Thyroid Nodule

Kenneth D. Burman, MC; Jerry M. Earll, MC; Merrill C. Johnson, MC; Leonard Wartofsky, MC
Arch Intern Med. 1974;134(5):915-919. doi:10.1001/archinte.1974.00320230125024.
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Of 54 patients with solitary autonomous thyroid nodules (SAN), only one or perhaps two manifested signs or symptoms of hyperthyroidism. Eighteen of the 54 patients had nodules that were larger than 3 cm in diameter, but only one of these patients had possible thyrotoxicosis. Forty-eight of the 54 patients were followed up for 4 to 136 months (average, 24 months). The course of the disease was completely benign, and none of these subjects developed hyperthyroidism during the follow-up. Two of the 48 patients appeared to have a SAN that underwent degeneration during the study.

We think that euthyroid patients with SAN may be managed under most circumstances by periodic follow-up examinations and that they need to be subjected to surgical or radioactive iodine therapy only when and if they subsequently develop hyperthyroidism.


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