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June 1963

Coma in Myxedema: Report of a Case and Review of the World Literature

Author Affiliations


Departments of Medicine, University of California School of Medicine and Mount Zion Hospital and Medical Center.

Arch Intern Med. 1963;111(6):734-743. doi:10.1001/archinte.1963.03620300054010

Coma is a relatively rare complication in myxedema. In the 50-year period from 1911 to 1961, only 76 such cases were reported in the world literature.1-47 Nearly two-thirds of the patients described in these reports died in coma. Coma in myxedema, therefore, is a medical emergency, comparable in gravity to diabetic coma.

The purpose of the present article is to describe an additional fatal case of coma in an elderly woman with myxedema. In addition, an analysis of the 76 previously reported cases and the present case was undertaken in an attempt to discover the factors responsible for the high rate of mortality in patients with coma in myxedema and to evaluate methods of management.

Report of Case  A 66-year-old white woman was first seen at home on July 6, 1960. No history could be obtained from the patient; however, her daughter stated that she was a chronic alcoholic