INTRODUCTION: Amiodarone, used for the management of tachyarrhythmias, is associated with both hypothyroidism and thyrotoxicosis. Total thyroidectomy is an effective procedure for promptly reducing circulating thyroid hormone levels. It has been proposed in patients who have severe amiodarone-induced thyrotoxicosis (AIT) or are refractory to medical therapy, or when such therapy is contraindicated. Therapeutic plasma exchange (TPE) may be considered as a pretreatment for restoring a euthyroid state preoperatively, thereby reducing a patient's symptoms and the potential perioperative risk associated with thyrotoxicosis.
CASE REPORT: We describe the case of a 62-year-old man with type 2 AIT who presented with severe unremitting thyrotoxicosis after 8 weeks of medical therapy with glucocorticosteroids, thiamazole, and potassium perchlorate. Given the severity of his presentation, a total thyroidectomy was indicated. TPE was performed preoperatively and was successful in rapidly restoring euthyroidism. This dramatically improved the patient's symptoms which had been suggestive of ischemic heart disease. Subsequently, the patient underwent total thyroidectomy under general anesthesia without any major complications.
CONCLUSION: TPE is successful in rapidly restoring a clinical and biochemical euthyroid state, and may be used to decrease the perioperative risks associated with thyroidectomy in patients with life-threatening thyrotoxicosis or in cases refractory to medical treatment.