An unusual cause of obstructive sleep apnoea presenting during pregnancy

J Laryngol Otol. 1998 Dec;112(12):1189-91. doi: 10.1017/s0022215100142811.


We describe a case of lingual thyroid (LT) with primary hypothyroidism, presenting during pregnancy and continuing beyond it with oropharyngeal obstructive symptoms and sleep apnoea syndrome (SAS) of mixed type. Although SAS of a combined obstructive and central type should not be too surprising in a case of LT with hypothyroidism, we were unable to find such a documentation previously. Only four weeks of L-thyroxin treatment resulted in a dramatic improvement in dysphagia, disturbed phonation, haemoptysis, arterial desaturation, sleep apnoea and overall sleep efficiency, in conjunction with a regression in the size of the lingual mass. This case highlights the vagaries confronted in the management of such a case and focuses on efforts towards accurate diagnosis and treatment.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypothyroidism / complications*
  • Hypothyroidism / diagnostic imaging
  • Iodine Radioisotopes
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / diagnosis
  • Pregnancy Complications / diagnostic imaging
  • Pregnancy Complications / etiology*
  • Radionuclide Imaging
  • Sleep Apnea Syndromes / diagnostic imaging
  • Sleep Apnea Syndromes / etiology*
  • Thyroid Gland / abnormalities*
  • Thyroid Gland / diagnostic imaging
  • Tongue


  • Iodine Radioisotopes