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December 23, 1974

Onset of Rheumatoid Arthritis After Thyroidectomy

Author Affiliations

Los Angeles

JAMA. 1974;230(12):1634-1635. doi:10.1001/jama.1974.03240120016006

To the Editor.—  Although conflicting articles stressing the relationship of rheumatoid arthritis to thyroidectomy exist in the literature,1,2 onset of typical symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis as a sequel to thyroidectomy was first observed by Traut1 in his three patients and has not been reported since. This letter describes a patient with Graves disease in whom rheumatoid arthritis developed soon after she had undergone subtotal thyroidectomy.

Report of a Case.—  In 1968, a 35-year-old woman complained of headache, nervousness, and excessive sweating. At that time, her condition was diagnosed as hyperthyroidism, and she was treated medically until March 1973, when a subtotal thyroidectomy was performed because of inadequate response to the medical treatment. She was subsequently given substitutional thyroid hormone therapy. Within the next 12 weeks, joint pains developed in both hands, and gradually progressed to involve most of the patient's joints, leading to weakness and inability to walk. Morning stiffness,