UK trends in the treatment of young patients with thyrotoxicosis using radioiodine
N Turner, I Driver & T Cheetham
Background: Radioiodine (RI) treatment of benign thyroid disease in young people has received a lot of attention recently with authorities in the US highlighting an encouraging short and medium term safety record. In this audit we surveyed treatment centres in the UK to assess the trend in RI administration in patients aged 21 years and under.
Methods: Over sixty Medical Physics Departments, dispersed to represent a suitable geographical coverage pattern for the UK, were contacted and asked to provide details of their use of RI in patients 21 and under during the period from 1990 to 2008. This represents more than half of the units likely to be administering RI to the young in the UK Information was collected on the age and number of young patients treated each year along with the respective total number of RI treatments carried out.
Results: Over half the units contacted (34) provided data on a total of over 42 000 treatments administered to people of all ages though information was more sparse over the early years due to lack of computerised records. The number of treatments recorded on patients under 22 during this period was 386 (0.899%) and the frequency of treatments in this group as a percentage of the total increased significantly throughout the study period from 0.23% in 1990 to 0.88% in 2000 and 1.48% in 2008.
Conclusions: RI administration to young people with benign thyroid disease in the UK has shown a steady increase in numbers over the last 2 decades. Most of these patients are likely to have Graves disease and the trend suggests that paediatricians and families are becoming more comfortable with RI administration in the young. A means of tagging these patients so that there long-term health can be monitored is a logical next step.