Background: Central nervous system dysfunction, such as hyperexcitation, irritability, and disturbance of consciousness, may occur in patients with thyrotoxicosis. There are also a few case reports of seizures attributed to thyrotoxicosis. The objective of the present study was to determine the prevalence of seizures that appeared to be related to the thyrotoxic state in patients with thyrotoxicosis. Methods: We retrospectively determined the prevalence and clinical features of seizures in 3382 patients with hyperthyroidism. Among patients with seizures, we excluded those with other causes of seizures or a history of epilepsy. We did not exclude two patients in whom later work-up showed an abnormal magnetic resonance imaging, as their seizures resolved after they became euthyroid. Results: Among the 3382 patients with hyperthyroidism, there were seven patients (0.2%) with seizures who met our criteria. Primary generalized tonic-clonic seizures occurred in four patients (57%), complex partial seizures with secondary generalized tonic-clonic seizures occurred in two patients (29%), and one patient had a focal seizure (14%). The initial electroencephalography (EEG) was normal in two patients (29%), had generalized slow activity in four patients (57%), and had diffuse generalized beta activity in one patient (14%). On magnetic resonance imaging, one patient had diffuse brain atrophy, and one had an old basal ganglia infarct. After the patients became euthyroid, the EEG was repeated and was normal in all patients. During follow-up periods ranging from 18 to 24 months, none of the patients had seizures. Conclusions: Hyperthyroidism is the precipitating cause of seizures in a small percentage of these patients. In these patients, the prognosis is good if they become euthyroid. The prevalence of thyrotoxicosis-related seizures reported here can be used in conjunction with the prevalence of thyrotoxicosis in the population to estimate the prevalence of thyrotoxicosis-related seizures in populations.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism