Endocrine Abstracts (2006) 11 P171

Polymyalgia rheumatica and Hashimoto thyroiditis

GN Karachalios1, I Kostoglou-Athanassiou2, P Athanassiou3 & Ph Kaldrymidis2


1Red Cross Hospital, Athens, Greece; 2Metaxa Hospital, Pireaus, Greece; 3Asclepeion Hospital, Athens, Greece.


Polymyalgia rheumatica is a chronic autoimmune inflammatory rheumatic disorder of unknown aetiology. Hashimoto thyroiditis is an autoimmune thyroid disorder characterised by the presence of antithyroid antibodies. Hashimoto thyroiditis has been described in patients with systemic autoimmune disorders such as systemic lupus erythematosus. The aim of the study was to describe the case of a patient who had polymyalgia rheumatica and developed Hashimoto thyroiditis.

A female nurse, aged 52, had polymyalgia rheumatica. She was given corticosteroids for the control of the disease with significant improvement. During follow-up she complained of non-specific musculoskeletal symptoms and a thyroid evaluation was performed. The presence of antithyroglbulin and antimicrosomal antibodies was observed. Thyroid function, however, was normal. On ultrasonography the thyroid was found to be normal in size with a micronodular consistency. The dose of the corticosteroids was tapered and thyroid function is being follow-up.

Autoimmune thyroid disease, Hashimoto thyroiditis and Graves’ disease, have been described in patients with systemic autoimmune disorders such as systemic lupus erythematosus. Rheumatoid arthritis patients have been found to suffer also from autoimmune thyroid disease more than a control population. The presence of Hashimoto thyroiditis in a patient with polymyalgia rheumatica is a rare occurrence, as only a few cases have been previously described in the literature. The coexistence may be fortuitous, as the occurrence of autoimmune disorders is common in women. Alternatively, the genetic background of the patient that led to the development of polymyalgia rheumatica may have led to the development of autoimmune thyroiditis.

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