First reported case of unilateral Graves' disease in the left lobe of a bilobar thyroid gland.
BACKGROUND: Unilateral Graves' disease is a rare disease variant that can occur in a bilobar thyroid gland. We report the first documented case of unilateral Graves' disease in the left lobe of a bilobar thyroid gland and review the pertinent literature. PATIENT FINDINGS: A 48-year-old man presented in June 2010 with thyrotoxicosis. I-131 radioisotope uptake was elevated at 33.4%, and scintigraphy revealed that uptake of the radioisotope was uniformly increased in the left lobe of the thyroid gland. Ultrasonography of the thyroid gland revealed a non-nodular, enlarged, and heterogeneous left lobe; Doppler investigation of the lobe showed hypervascularity classically seen in Graves' disease. The right lobe of the thyroid, on the other hand, appeared homogeneous and hypovascular on ultrasonography. Thyroid-stimulating immunoglobulin was significantly elevated at 191% (reference range <140%). Unilateral Graves' disease was the most likely diagnosis. SUMMARY: As has occasionally been described in the literature, unilateral involvement of the thyroid gland is a rare presentation of Graves' disease. Pre-existing functional or structural differences (either congenital or acquired) between the two lobes may contribute to this rare presentation. To our knowledge, this is the first reported case of unilateral Graves' disease presenting in the left lobe of a bilobar thyroid gland. CONCLUSION: Although the pathophysiology of unilateral Graves's disease has not been clearly elucidated, clinicians should be aware that Graves' disease can present unilaterally in either lobe of the thyroid gland.
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