Quantitative assessment of thyroid gland elasticity with shear-wave elastography in pediatric patients with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis
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Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is the most common autoimmune thyroid disorder in the pediatric age range. Measurement of thyroid gland size is an essential component in evaluation and follow-up of thyroid pathologies. Along with size, tissue elasticity is becoming a more commonly used parameter in evaluation of parenchyma in inflammatory diseases. The aim of the current study was to assess thyroid parenchyma elasticity by shear-wave elastography in pediatric patients with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis; and compare the elasticity values to a normal control group.
Materials and methods
In this study; thyroid glands of 59 patients with a diagnosis of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis based on ultrasonographic and biochemical features, and 26 healthy volunteers without autoimmune thyroid disease and thyroid function disorders, were evaluated with shear-wave elastography. Patients with Hashimoto thyroiditis were further subdivided into three categories based on gray-scale ultrasonography findings as focal thyroiditis (grade 1), diffuse thyroiditis (grade 2), and fibrotic thyroid gland (grade 3).
Patients with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis (n = 59) had significantly higher elasticity values (14. 9 kPa; IQR 12.9–17.8 kPa) than control subjects (10.6 kPa; IQR 9.0–11.3 kPa) (p < 0.001). Of the 59 patients with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, 23 patients had focal thyroiditis involving less than 50% of the gland categorized as grade 1, 24 patients had diffuse involvement of the thyroid gland categorized as grade 2, and 12 patients had marked hyperechoic septations and pseudonodular appearance categorized as grade 3 on gray-scale ultrasound. Based on elastography, grade 3 patients had significantly higher elasticity values (19.7 kPa; IQR 17.8–21.5 kPa) than patients with grade 2 (15.5 kPa; IQR 14.5–17.8 kPa) and grade 1 thyroiditis (12.8 kPa; IQR 11.9–13.1 kPa) (p < 0.05). Patients with grade 2 thyroiditis had significantly higher elasticity values than those with grade 1 thyroiditis (p < 0.05).
Gray-scale ultrasound findings of heterogeneous echotexture and hypoechoic echogenicity reflect a longer duration of inflammation and may not be found in the initial stages of thyroiditis. Our results indicate that shear-wave elastography could be used to evaluate the degree of fibrosis in Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.
KeywordsShear-wave elastography Hashimoto’s thyroiditis Medication
Compliance with ethical standards
All procedures followed were in accordance with the ethical standards of the responsible committee on human experimentation (institutional and national) and with the Helsinki Declaration of 1975, as revised in 2008.
Conflict of interest
All authors state that they have no conflicts of interest to declare.
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