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[Radioiodine treatment of hyperthyroidism using a simplified dosimetric approach. Clinical results].

La Radiologia Medica 2000 December
PURPOSE: To evaluate the clinical effectiveness of a simplified dosimetric approach to the iodine-131 treatment of hyperthyroidism due to Graves' disease or uninodular and multinodular toxic goiter.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: We enrolled 189 patients with biochemically confirmed hyperthyroidism and performed thyroid ultrasonography and scintigraphy obtaining the diagnosis of Graves' disease in 43 patients, uninodular toxic goiter in 57 patients and multinodular toxic goiter in 89 patients. In 28 patients we found cold thyroid nodules and performed fine-needle aspiration with negative cytology for thyroid malignancy in all cases. Antithyroid drugs were stopped 5 days till radioiodine administration and, if necessary, restored 15 days after the treatment. Radioiodine uptake test was performed in all patients and therapeutic activity calculated to obtain a minimal activity of 185 MBq in the thyroid 24 hours after administration. The minimal activity was adjusted based on clinical, biochemical and imaging data to obtain a maximal activity of 370 MBq after 24 hours.

RESULTS: Biochemical and clinical tests were scheduled at 3 and 12 months posttreatment and thyroxine treatment was started when hypothyroidism occurred. In Graves' disease patients a mean activity of 370 MBq (distribution 259-555 MBq) was administered. Three months after treatment and at least 15 days after methimazole discontinuation 32 of 43 (74%) patients were hypothyroid, 5 of 43 (11%) euthyroid and 6 of 43 (15%) hyperthyroid. Three of the latter were immediately submitted to a new radioiodine administration while 32 hypothyroid patients received thyroxine treatment. One year after the radioiodine treatment no patient had hyperthyroidism; 38 of 43 (89%) were on a replacement treatment while 5 (11%) remained euthyroid. In uni- and multinodular toxic goiter a mean activity of 444 MBq (distribution 259-555 MBq) was administered. Three months posttreatment 134 of 146 (92%) patients were euthyroid and 12 of 146 (8%) patients hyperthyroid. Two patients were immediately submitted to a new radioiodine administration. One year posttreatment 142 of 146 (97%) patients were euthyroid while only 4 of 146 (3%) patients showed TSH levels above the normal range. Only 2 of them required thyroxine treatment.

CONCLUSIONS: The simplified dosimetric method illustrated in our paper is very effective in clinical practice because it permits to avoid resorting to sophisticated but also imprecise quantitative methods. Hypothyroidism should not be considered as a major collateral effect of radioiodine treatment, particularly in Graves' disease. In fact, the pathogenesis of the disease requires an ablative treatment with both surgery and radioidine treatment and the control of hyperthyroidism and the prevention of relapse are the major clinical targets. Vice versa, hypothyroidism was very uncommon in uni- and multinodular toxic goiter when our dosimetric approach was applied.

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