MÆDICA - a Journal of Clinical Medicine | Vol. 10, nr. 3, 2015
ISSN 1841-9038  |  e-ISSN 2069-6116
ISSN-L 1841-9038


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Myxedema Coma with Reversible Cardiopulmonary Failure: a Rare Entity in 21St Century

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Myxedema coma, a rare entity in 21st century in developed nations, is a decompensated phase of hypothyroidism with high mortality rates. We describe a young woman with myxedema, who developed respiratory failure, congestive heart failure and significant pericardial effusion, some of the uncommon manifestations. Decreased cardiac contractility can result in cardiomyopathy and heart failure. As illustrated by this case, myxedema can also result in significant pericardial effusion due to increased vascular permeability. Myxedema can further be complicated by alveolar hypoventilation and respiratory failure secondary to the lack of central drive as well as respiratory muscle weakness. Prompt therapy with thyroid hormone replacement, glucocorticoid therapy, aggressive supportive care and management of the precipitating event can save lives and reverse the cardiopulmonary symptoms, as in our patient. Hence, physicians should have a high index of suspicion for myxedema coma in patients with unexplained cardiopulmonary failure. Our report is, therefore, aimed at bringing awareness about the rare but fatal manifestations of myxedema coma.

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