Thyroid gland rupture: a rare case of respiratory distress

J Emerg Med. 2012 Jul;43(1):41-3. doi: 10.1016/j.jemermed.2009.05.010. Epub 2009 Jul 9.


Background: Rupture of a normal thyroid gland after blunt cervical trauma is a rare case of airway compression. This case report describes the case of a 79-year-old woman who developed severe respiratory distress after a bicycle crash.

Case report: Presenting about 2 h after the crash, the patient noted cervical swelling and increasing dyspnea. The diagnosis of thyroid gland rupture was made with a combination of computed tomography scan, cervical radiography, and bronchoscopy. Invasive airway management was required in the first few hours after the crash. The patient underwent a left hemithyroidectomy, and recovered without complications.

Conclusion: This case report highlights the fact that thyroid gland rupture can be a threatening complication of blunt cervical trauma.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Airway Management
  • Airway Obstruction / etiology*
  • Airway Obstruction / therapy
  • Bicycling / injuries
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Rupture / complications
  • Rupture / diagnosis
  • Thyroid Gland / injuries*
  • Thyroid Gland / surgery
  • Wounds, Nonpenetrating / complications*