Outpatient management of patients with large multinodular goitres treated with fractionated radioiodine

Eur J Nucl Med. 1997 Dec;24(12):1465-9. doi: 10.1007/s002590050175.


The efficacy of fractionated out-patient radioiodine therapy in 38 patients with compressive symptoms due to long-standing large multinodular goitres was assessed. The diagnosis was established by clinical assessment in addition to technetium-99m pertechnetate thyroid scan or computed tomography scan of the thyroid and mediastinum. Oral iodine-131 therapy was administered as a 2.22 GBq (60 mCi) cumulative dose over 4 months (555 MBq per month). All patients were monitored with serum thyroid-stimulating hormone and free thyroxine (+/- free tri-iodothyronine) assays before the treatment and after each dose fraction. Clinical and biochemical follow-up was performed on all patients and ranged from 6 to 45 months after therapy. The patients consisted of 35 female and three male patients with a median age of 59 years (range 37-87 years). Prior to treatment 20 patients were biochemically hyperthyroid and 18 were euthyroid. Overall, 71% of patients reported a subjective improvement in compressive symptoms and 29% reported no change. Clinically assessed reduction in goitre size occurred in 92% of patients while there was no change in 8%. At 3 months of follow-up, 31% of patients had become hypothyroid and at 18 months 66% were hypothyroid. Seven hyperthyroid patients (35%) became euthyroid and 13 hyperthyroid patients (65%) became hypothyroid. Three patients who became hypothyroid experienced neck soreness (transient in one patient, persistent in two patients). There were no differences in outcome between patients who were hyperthyroid and those who were euthyroid prior to treatment. Fractionated out-patient radioiodine therapy showed excellent short- and medium-term safety, was very well tolerated and offered a satisfactory alternative treatment to surgery.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Ambulatory Care*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Dose Fractionation, Radiation
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Goiter, Nodular / radiotherapy*
  • Humans
  • Hyperthyroidism / radiotherapy
  • Iodine Radioisotopes / therapeutic use*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Iodine Radioisotopes