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Medicina 2004; 40 (3) 201-204

Thyroid tuberculosis

Andrius Šimkus

Andrius Šimkus Private Enterprise “Therapia scientifica”, Kaunas, Lithuania

Key words: thyroid, tuberculosis, infection, thyroiditis, aspiration.

Summary. The aim of this article is to collect and to review reference data about thyroid tuberculosis from all-over the world and to analyze urgency and changeability of this problem since 19th century until now. Data show that there are cases of thyroid tuberculosis still occurring in many countries of the world, including highly developed countries. It turned out that the disease can manifest in various ways and that it does not have specific symptoms characteristic only to thyroid tuberculosis. The main method for establishing diagnosis is fine-needle aspiration with subsequent bacterioscopical, bacteriological or biological investigation. Still, for verification of diagnosis, ultrasonography, even computerized tomography and the newest serological diagnostic methods of tuberculosis may be necessary. In conclusion, thyroid tuberculosis should be differentiated from other diseases of thyroid: various types of thyroiditis, Graves disease and nodular goiter. It is particularly vital to distinguish thyroid tuberculosis from thyroid cancer, in attempt to avoid unnecessary thyroid surgery. While treating thyroid tuberculosis, there is a choice of thyroid surgery, antituberculous drugs and repeated puncture drainage procedures. Sometimes these methods can be combined.

Correspondence to A. Šimkus, PE “Therapia scientifica”, Partizanų 110–48, 50341 Kaunas, Lithuania. E-mail:

Received 6 November 2003, accepted 2 March 2004