Objective: Previous surveys from different world regions have demonstrated variations in the clinical management of Graves disease (GD). We aimed to investigate the clinical approach to GD relapse among endocrinologists.
Methods: Electronic questionnaires were e-mailed to all members of the Israeli Endocrine Society. Questionnaires included demographic data and different scenarios regarding treatment and follow-up of patients with GD relapse.
Results: The response rate was 49.4% (98/198). For a young male with GD relapse, 68% would restart antithyroid drug (ATD) (98% methimazole), while 32% would refer to radioactive iodine (RAI) treatment. Endocrinologists who treat >10 thyroid patients a week tended to choose ATDs over RAI ( P = .04). In the case of GD relapse with ophthalmopathy, 50% would continue ATDs, whereas 22.4% would recommend RAI treatment and 27.6% surgery. Most endocrinologists (56%) would continue ATDs for 12 to 24 months. Seventy-five percent would monitor complete blood count and liver function (39% for the first month and 36% for 6 months), and 44% would recommend a routine neck ultrasound. In a case of thyrotoxicosis due to a 3-cm hot nodule, most endocrinologists (70%) would refer to RAI ablation, 46.4% without and 23.7% with a previous fine-needle aspiration. No significant differences were found regarding gender, year of board certification, or work environment.
Conclusion: Our survey demonstrates diverging patterns in the diagnosis and management of GD relapse that correlate well with previous surveys from other countries on GD-naïve patients and a less than optimal adherence to recently published clinical guidelines.
Abbreviations: ATA = American Thyroid Association; ATD = antithyroid drug; CBC = complete blood count; GD = Graves disease; GO = Graves ophthalmopathy; LFT = liver function test; MMI = methimazole; PTU = propylthiouracil; RAI = radioactive iodine; TSI = thyroid-stimulating immunoglobulin.