Prevalence and Clinical Characteristics of Pretibial Myxedema in Chinese Outpatients With Thyroid Diseases

Changgui Lan, Wei Chen, Jing Zhao, Can Li, Xiaofeng Mei, Jie Hu


Background: There have been no reports on the prevalence of pretibial myxedema (PTM) in thyroid diseases in China. In order to resolve the problem, we retrospectively investigated Chinese outpatients with thyroid diseases and analyzed the clinical manifestation of PTM.

Methods: All outpatients with thyroid diseases at Department of Nuclear Medicine from October 24, 2000 to November 11, 2006 were included in the investigation by eligible case criteria and screened by PTM diagnosis criteria. The fill-out forms of PTM had three main items which contained demographics, diagnosis of thyroid diseases, relationship among I-131 therapy, thyroid function and onset of PTM, and the clinical manifestation of PTM. Descriptive statistics of the data were performed with statistical software SPSS17.0.

Results: The prevalence of PTM was 1.6% (728/44,646) in thyroid diseases, 1.7% in thyrotoxicosis, and 0.36% in Hashimoto thyroiditis, primary hypothyroidism and thyroid adenoma, respectively. The average age was 41.1 11.9 years (15 - 78 years). The sex ratio was 1:3.7. Eighty-three percent of cases were Chinese farmers. The onset of PTM was 63.9% in euthyroidism, 22% in hyperthyroidism, 11.4% in hypothyroidism and 2.7% in unclear thyroid function. The course was 10 days to 10 years and its average was 37.8 20.5 months. The clinical forms were 82.6% in non-pitting diffuse swelling, 12.4% in plaque/nodule, 2.7% in verruciform plaque, 1.6% in elephantiasis and 0.7% in tumorous.

Conclusions: The prevalence of PTM with chronic and autoimmune features is 1.6% in thyroid diseases. Its onset is not related to thyroid dysfunction and it should be treated early.

J Endocrinol Metab. 2015;5(4):250-255


Pretibial myxedema; Prevalence; Thyroid disease; Thyroid dysfunction; Clinical manifestation; I-131 treatment

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