A COVID-19 Infection Can Trigger Graves’ disease

November 10, 2023

A new case study highlights an 81-year-old male who developed Graves’ disease and thyroid storm one week after a COVID-19 diagnosis. A thyroid storm is a rare but severe and life-threatening complication of hyperthyroidism that occurs when overactive thyroid activity leads to hypermetabolism and can result in death from cardiac arrest or multiple organ failure.

The patient, with no history of autoimmune or thyroid conditions, presented with symptoms such as palpitations, tremors, and diarrhea. The diagnosis was confirmed through a Burch-Wartofsky score of 45 and thyroid studies. Treatment involved hydrocortisone, cholestyramine, potassium, and propylthiouracil, resulting in symptom resolution and improved thyroid studies.

This case adds to the somewhat limited reports linking COVID-19 to new-onset Graves’ disease (1) (2) (3) (4) (5), emphasizing the need for recognizing and promptly treating autoimmune effects post-COVID-19 infection to prevent severe complications.