Euthyroid goitre and sleep apnea

A. De Felice, S. Fuschillo, M. Martucci, E. De Angelis, Giovanni Balzano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A number of predisposing factors (obesity, nasal obstruction, adenoidal hypertrophy, macroglossia, etc) have been related to obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS). In addition hypothyroidism and large goitres have been reported to be associated to OSAS, but this association has not been adequately studied. We describe an obese patient with euthyroid go itre associated with OSAS. The patient showed a body mass index (BMI) of 47 and a large neck with a circumference of 60 cm. The flow-volume curve demonstrated an expiratory plateau suggesting an intrathoracic upper airway obstruction. Arterial blood gas analysis results were: pH 7.39; PCO2 54.2 mmHg; P O2 47 mmHg. Nocturnal polisomnography showed an apnea /hypopnea index (AHI) of 31 episodes/hour. Upper airway collapse was overcome by a nasal continuous positive airway pressure (nCPAP) of 14 cmH2O. Weight loss o btained by a hypocaloric diet was not accompanied by any OSAS improvement. After thyroidectomy, a nCPAP of 4 cmH2O was sufficient to prevent upper airway closure. Discontinuation of nCPAP tr eatment for 4 consecutive nights did not determine worsening of sleep apnea symptoms, nor a worsening of overnight oxymetry. A new polysomnography carried out after 4 nights off nCPAP showed an AHI of 33 episodes/hour. OSAS should be suspected in pa tients with large goitres. Decisions regarding discontinuation of nCPAP treatment after thyroidectomy should be based on polisomnographic results.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)52-55
Number of pages4
JournalMonaldi Archives for Chest Disease - Cardiac Series
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2006


  • Continuous positive airway pressure
  • Goitre
  • Sleep apnea

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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