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March 1979

Pericardial Effusion: A Complication of Hypothyroidism

Author Affiliations

Department of Pediatrics West Virginia University School of Medicine Morgantown, WV 26506

Am J Dis Child. 1979;133(3):329. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1979.02130030105019

Although pericardial effusion is recognized as a relatively common complication of adult myxedema,1-3 its presence in children with untreated hypothyroidism seems to be a rare occurrence. While a leading pediatric textbook4 lists this disorder in the differential diagnosis of pericardial effusion, we were unable to find any case reports of hypothyroid children with this complication. We describe here a 12-year-old boy with Down's syndrome in whom pericardial effusion developed and in whom further investigation established the presence of primary hypothyroidism.

Report of a Case.—A 12-year-old boy was admitted to West Virginia University Hospital, Morgantown, with a 30-day history of cough, dyspnea, and orthopnea. On admission, physical examination disclosed a very obese child of short stature with marked dyspnea. His temperature was normal; blood pressure, 90/75 mm Hg; pulse rate, 80 beats per minute; weight, 34 kg; and height, 109 cm. His estimated height age was 3½ years.

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