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Myxedema Coma

Medical Treatment

  • Intravenous fluids
  • Electrolytes replacement as necessary
  • Thyroid hormones are usually administered through a vein (intravenously or IV) to quickly correct the low thyroid hormone blood level. (Oral thyroid hormone is usually not used for severe myxedema because it may take days or weeks to obtain the proper blood level.)
  • Cortisol or other adrenal cortical hormone intravenously
  • Warming blanket if body temperature is low
  • Glucose supplements if the blood sugar level is low
  • Antibiotics if an infection is present

Next Steps

Following the start of treatment, careful monitoring, usually in the intensive care unit, is necessary.

Follow-up

Follow-up with the doctor after discharge is important to monitor the thyroid condition and decide on the right thyroid hormone dose to be taken.

Prevention

Myxedema coma can be prevented with early treatment of hypothyroidism, taking thyroid medication regularly, and recognition of the warning symptoms of myxedema coma.

Outlook

  • Myxedema coma is a very serious condition that can result in death.
  • Early and aggressive treatment can improve the outcome.

For More Information Web Links

American Thyroid Association

Thyroid Foundation of America

American Foundation of Thyroid Patients

Synonyms and Keywords

myxedema coma, hypothyroidism, under-active thyroid, underactive thyroid, thyroid gland, thyroid hormone, thyroid emergency, low thyroid hormone

WebMD Medical Reference from eMedicineHealth

Reviewed by David T. Derrer, MD on May 06, 2014
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