What Is a Thyroid Storm?

Thyroid storm is a rare condition that occurs in patients with an overactive thyroid who fail to undergo proper treatment or fail to undergo treatment at all, according to Healthline. It is accompanied with abnormally high blood pressure, high fever and high heart rate, which result from overproduction of triiodothyronine and thyroxine thyroid hormones. Typically, thyroid storm patients who lack immediate and proper medical care die. However, hyperthyroidism does not lead to thyroid storm in all cases.

Other than untreated and undertreated hyperthyroidism, other causes of thyroid storm in hyperthyroidism sufferers are stroke, congestive heart failure, pulmonary embolism, diabetic ketoacidosis and trauma, notes Healthline. Because thyroid storm is a fatal condition, an individual should seek immediate medical care when the symptoms appear to ensure early diagnosis and treatment. To diagnose thyroid storm, a doctor conducts a blood test to determine the level of thyroid hormones in the patient's blood, including the thyroid stimulating hormones triiodothyronine and thyroxine.

Treatments of thyroid storm include radioactive iodine treatment, which involves destroying the thyroid using radioactive iodine, and temporary suppression of the thyroid function with drugs, says Healthline. To avoid fetal injury, pregnant women who have thyroid storm should undergo surgery to remove the thyroid instead of radioactive iodine treatment. After the radioactive iodine treatment or surgical removal of the thyroid, the patient should take synthetic thyroid hormone throughout his life. However, the earlier the patient seeks treatment of thyroid storm, the higher the survival chances.