Ever feel like the universe has been preparing you just for this moment? Me neither really…but in this one weird way – yes!
So hear me out.
Thyroid disease as a result of a viral infection was first described in 1902 by Dr Fritz De Quervain and of course he and his ego called it De Quervain’s subacute thyroiditis. For some historical context, this predates the recognised role of iodine deficiency in thyroid disease! Skip ahead almost a century to deep in the 1990s and mini-me was sitting in a uni lecture room [front row & wearing fluro of course🤣] and over hundreds of hours (no scrap that zillions*^# of hours) of lecture content I was exposed to, the description of De Quervain’s Subacute Thyroiditis stood out and stayed stuck to me. I’ve brought it out for a twirl from time to time in the interim with some of my patients & in particular in correspondence with their docs. Skip ahead to the 2020s when we had this thing called. ‘a global pandemic’, and now everyone wants to talk viruses and their broader health implications & as a result, good ol’ Fritz, me and our buddy, De Quervain’s subacute thyroiditis, are all having a moment.
But just to recap – this is (clearly) not new.
What is new is the way this ‘virus of the moment’ has brought this Thyroid V Virus battle to the forefront. We are living an important chapter in history where all the textbook entries on De Quervain’s Subacute Thyroiditis are madly being rewritten to reflect the veracity of this viral attack on the gland and the wide-scale & varied damage that ensues over the months and years that follow. And so many of our patients are the walking embodiment of it – whether that be in the form of low or high thyroid hormones, nefarious changes to gland anatomy only evidenced on US. So what do we need to know? in short, that pathogens as goitrogens have never been more of an issue than right now for ourselves and our patients. And that compared with just our usual desire for comprehensive investigation of the HPT, taking a complete look ‘under the hood’, not only by way of a full TFT and Ab titres but also, wherever there is an additional suspicion – by way of a thyroid US – has become non-negotiable. But regardless of what you find there, once you look, do you know what to do next?