Is Silent Thyroiditis an Autoimmune Disease?

Robert Volpé, MD, FRCPC
Arch Intern Med. 1988;148(9):1907-1908. doi:10.1001/archinte.1988.00380090009003.
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The entity of silent (painless) thyroiditis has been recognized over the past decade as a clinical syndrome manifested by transient hyperthyroidism associated with a marked depression of the thyroidal radioactive iodine uptake, often followed by a transient period of hypothyroidism, but most patients ultimately recover to normal.1 The similarity of the thyroid dysfunction and the evolution during the course of the disease in silent thyroiditis to the picture seen in de Quervain's subacute thyroiditis brought with it the possibility that silent thyroiditis might share a similar cause with de Quervain's thyroiditis, namely, a possible viral infection.1-4 However, a number of elements argue against that possibility.

See also p 1974.

First, the histologic appearance of the thyroid gland in this condition shows lymphocytic infiltration reminiscent of Hashimoto's thyroiditis. It is not identical with typical Hashimoto's thyroiditis, however, since there are few lymphoid follicles, few or no Hürthle cells are


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