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Obstructive retrosternal goitre mimicking severe bronchial asthma in pregnancy


Acute airway obstruction in pregnancy remains a challenge to manage. Failure of appropriate and timely airway management may lead to maternal morbidity and mortality such as aspiration pneumonitis or worst hypoxaemic cardiopulmonary arrest.1 As pregnancy may exacerbate asthma attacks, parturient presenting with wheezing or shortness of breath will commonly be treated as suffering from an asthmatic attack.2 However, it is important to note other possible differential diagnoses. Thyroid disease is relatively common in women of childbearing age. The thyroid gland undergoes several changes during pregnancy, which may lead to altered function as well as gland enlargement and cause upper airway obstruction and symptoms similar to a bronchial asthma attack.3 4 With that in mind, we report a case of a parturient with long-standing goitre in her second trimester who presented to our institution with acute respiratory symptoms and cardiopulmonary arrest.

  • ear, nose and throat
  • thyroid disease
  • pregnancy
  • asthma
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