BREAKING NEWS! Thai Study Reveals Alarming Rate Of About 20.2 Percent Of COVID-19 Patients Found With Thyroid Incidentalomas!
Further Research Into The Potential Oncogenic Effects Of The Virus On The Thyroid Gland Are Urgently Warranted!
: In a groundbreaking study conducted by researchers from the Chakri Naruebodindra Medical Institute at Mahidol University in Thailand, researchers have made a startling discovery about the impact of COVID-19 on the thyroid gland.
The study findings showed that a significant number of COVID-19 patients were found with thyroid incidentalomas, posing a potential threat to their health as many of these will typically turn out to be malignant!
A thyroid incidentaloma is defined as an unexpected, asymptomatic thyroid tumor discovered during the investigation of an unrelated condition.
Thailand Medical News
in our previous COVID-19 news report have already covered the involvement of the thyroid gland in SARS-CoV-2 infections and the possible outcomes.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, individuals with underlying health conditions and those previously considered healthy have been susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 infection. At the Chakri Naruebodindra Medical Institute, chest computed tomography (CT) scans were routinely performed on hospitalized patients to assess lung involvement and COVID-19 complications. However, limited data existed regarding thyroid incidentalomas in COVID-19 patients, particularly in healthy individuals.
The objective of the study was to investigate the prevalence and predictors of thyroid incidentalomas among hospitalized COVID-19 patients. The study team conducted a retrospective analysis of patients aged 15 years and older who had undergone chest CT scans between April 2020 and October 2021. An experienced radiologist reviewed and identified thyroid incidentalomas, and logistic regression analysis was employed to determine factors associated with their occurrence.
The study included a total of 1,326 patients, with an average age of 49.4 years and 55.3% female.
Shockingly, the prevalence of thyroid incidentalomas among these patients was found to be 20.2%.
Further analysis revealed that patients with thyroid incidentalomas were older (mean age of 59.6 years) and more likely to be female (63.4%) compared to those without incidentalomas. Multivariate analysis confirmed that female sex and advanced age were significant factors associated with the development of thyroid incidentalomas.
The prevalence of thyroid incidentalomas identified in this study was substantially higher than rates reported in previous studies conducted on the general population, which ranged from less than 1% to 16.8%.
The study's findings underscore the urgent need for further research and increased awareness of the potential risks COVID-19 poses to the thyroid gland.
Thyroid incidentalomas are asymptomatic nodules discovered incidentally while investigating other health conditions unrelated to the thyroid. These incidentalomas have become more prevalent due to the widespread use of high-resolution imaging techniques. Studies have shown that the prevalence of thyroid incidentalomas can vary widely depending on the imaging method used, ranging from 5% to 67%. The prevalence is highest on ultrasound (up to 67%), followed by contrast-enhanced chest CT (up to 25%), neck CT and magnetic resonance scans (16% to 18%), and fluorine-18 fluorodeoxyglucose (18F-FDG) positron emission tomography (PET) scans (1% to 2%). Factors such as female sex, increasing age, and possibly obesity contribute to the higher incidence of thyroid nodules.
The SARS-CoV-2 virus, responsible for COVID-19, has been shown to target tissues with high angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) receptor expression, including the thyroid gland. ACE2 is the surface receptor through which the virus enters and replicates within host cells. Thyroid tissue has been found to express high levels of ACE2 and TMPRSS2, the protease necessary for spike protein cleavage and subsequent binding to ACE2. These findings suggest that the thyroid gland may be particularly vulnerable to SARS-CoV-2 infection.
Previous studies have reported cases of severe thyroid follicular cell injury and various thyroid-related conditions associated with SARS-CoV infection. However, limited information exists regarding the relationship between SARS-CoV-2 and thyroid incidentalomas. The recent Thai study highlights the need for further investigation into the potential oncogenic effects of the virus on the thyroid gland.
The implications of these findings are significant, as people of all ages, including seemingly healthy individuals, can contract COVID-19.
The study conducted at the Chakri Naruebodindra Medical Institute is the first to systematically investigate the prevalence of thyroid incidentalomas using CT scans in COVID-19 patients.
The potential mechanisms through which SARS-CoV-2 infection contributes to thyroid nodule formation warrant further investigation.
It is important to note that this study was limited to a single-center retrospective analysis, and further research is needed to validate the findings on a larger scale. Nevertheless, the implications of the study's results are significant. Medical professionals should be aware of the heightened risk of thyroid incidentalomas in COVID-19 patients, particularly among older individuals and females. The early detection and appropriate management of these incidentalomas are crucial in preventing potential complications and ensuring optimal patient care.
The study findings were published in the peer reviewed Journal of the Endocrine Society.
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