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Substernal goitre presenting with upper and lower extremity oedema
  1. Rebekah LeAnn Bennett Daggett1,
  2. Daniel Farishta2,
  3. Hugo Cuellar3 and
  4. Cherie-Ann O Nathan2
  1. 1School of Medicine, LSUHSC-S, Shreveport, Louisiana, USA
  2. 2Department of Otolaryngology/HNS, LSUHSC-S, Shreveport, Louisiana, USA
  3. 3Department of Radiology, LSUHSC-S, Shreveport, Louisiana, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Daniel Farishta; daniel.farishta{at}


Substernal goitre is characterised by compressive symptoms of the airway and oesophagus. Chronic, progressive symptoms usually result in surgical removal. We report a rare presentation of substernal goitre in a male in his early 70s who suffered from severe bilateral lower extremity (LE) lymphoedema, resulting in immobility and nursing home placement, and left upper extremity lymphoedema. Our initial assessment led to a filariasis work-up, which was negative, due to the patient’s prior 2-year residence in India and service overseas. Chest CT scan revealed an incidental substernal goitre extending posterior to the left innominate vein and aortic arch to the level of the left mainstem bronchus. The patient underwent a left hemithyroidectomy via cervical excision and sternotomy and had an uneventful recovery with resolution of lymphoedema and mobility. Despite extensive literature regarding clinical presentations of substernal goitre, severe lymphoedema of the LE is not a well-established association.

  • thyroid disease
  • cardiothoracic surgery
  • otolaryngology / ENT

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  • Contributors CAON, HC and DF were directly involved in patient care. RLBD wrote the initial draft of the manuscript, which was revised by DF. CAON and HC provided further critical revisions. All authors approved the final version of the manuscript.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.