Virchows Archiv

, 459:277 | Cite as

The incidence of lymphocytic thyroid infiltration and Hashimoto's thyroiditis increased in patients operated for benign goiter over a 31-year period

  • Johannes OttEmail author
  • Moritz Meusel
  • Andrea Schultheis
  • Regina Promberger
  • Shannon Joan Pallikunnel
  • Nikolaus Neuhold
  • Michael Hermann
Original Article


The incidence of Hashimoto's thyroiditis (HT) seems to have increased over the last several decades. Since there is a lack of recent studies in the literature that evaluate this phenomenon on a histological basis, we aimed to assess the incidence of lymphocytic thyroid infiltration (LTI) in our large surgical patient collective over a 31-year period. In our study, a total of 1,050 patients who had undergone uni- or bilateral thyroid surgery for benign goiter were included (150 patients in each group, during 1979 to 2009). The stored histological sections of the removed thyroid specimens were re-analyzed, including routine grading of LTI severity on a scale of 0–4, according to Williams and Doniach. Positive correlations were seen for the incidences of LTI grading (0–4) (r = 0.077, p = 0.013) and HT (r = 0.044, p = 0.078) over the years. Furthermore, when comparing the years 1979–1989 and 1994–2009, i.e., before and after the second iodine prophylaxis had been introduced in Austria, a higher incidence of HT was found for the later years (2 out of 450, 0.4%, vs. 6 out of 600, 1.0%, respectively; p < 0.0001). In conclusion, the data demonstrate that the incidence of LTI and HT has increased substantially over the last 31 years.


Autoimmune thyroiditis Hashimoto's thyroiditis Histology Lymphocytic infiltration Epidemiology 


Conflict of interest statement

We declare that we have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Johannes Ott
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Moritz Meusel
    • 1
  • Andrea Schultheis
    • 3
  • Regina Promberger
    • 1
    • 4
  • Shannon Joan Pallikunnel
    • 1
  • Nikolaus Neuhold
    • 3
  • Michael Hermann
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of SurgeryKaiserin Elisabeth SpitalViennaAustria
  2. 2.Department of Gynecologic Endocrinology and Reproductive MedicineMedical University ViennaViennaAustria
  3. 3.Department of Pathology and MicrobiologyKaiserin Elisabeth SpitalViennaAustria
  4. 4.Department of SurgeryMedical University of ViennaViennaAustria

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