management, diabetic keto-acidosis, sepsis, thyrotoxicosis, thyroid-storm
Thyroid storm (TS) is a relatively rare but life-threatening complication of an overactive thyroid that can manifest in a myriad of ways due to its multisystem involvement. Due to its relatively high mortality rate, it is essential that TS is recognized and treated promptly. TS can occur due to trauma, drugs, and sepsis. Identifying TS as a diagnosis is challenging to pinpoint due to its similar presentation to more common pathologies like sepsis and diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). Here, we present a case of a 31-year-old African-American woman with type 2 diabetes mellitus following sepsis secondary to Escherichia coli pyelonephritis and DKA. Despite standard sepsis treatment, which included appropriate intravenous fluids and antibiotics, the patient did not improve. Further workup, utilizing the Burch-Wartofsky score, helped identify TS as the underlying cause of the patient’s hospitalization, despite no history of underlying thyroid disease. The inclusion of thyroid pathology as part of the differential diagnosis and workup of a patient with a sepsis-like presentation to avoid anchoring bias warrants further investigation.
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Joseph, Andrew M.; Karas, Monica; Camba, Victor H.; Martin, Brian M.; and Preece, John, "Anchoring on Hyperglycemia and Sepsis in the Presence of an Unforeseen Thyroid Storm" (2023). HPD Articles. 330.
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