Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Thyroid tuberculosis: an unexpected diagnosis
  1. Alexandra Novais Araújo1,
  2. Tânia Matos1,
  3. João Boavida2 and
  4. Maria João Guerreiro Martins Bugalho1,3
  1. 1Serviço de Endocrinologia, Centro Hospitalar Universitário Lisboa Norte EPE, Lisboa, Portugal
  2. 2Serviço de Anatomia Patológica, Centro Hospitalar Universitário Lisboa Norte EPE, Lisboa, Portugal
  3. 3Faculdade de Medicina de Lisboa, Lisboa, Portugal
  1. Correspondence to Professor Maria João Guerreiro Martins Bugalho; maria.bugalho{at}


Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB) is an aerobic bacillus responsible for tuberculous infection. The the thyroid gland being affected by MTB is a rare condition. A 71-year-old woman had 6 months of slight cervical discomfort. Her neck ultrasound showed, at the right lobe of the thyroid, a dominant heterogeneous nodule of 18 mm and homolateral lymph nodes with suspicious ultrasonographic features. The patient underwent fine-needle aspiration, the results of which were non-diagnostic (thyroid nodule) and reactive pattern (lymph node). A total thyroidectomy was performed and a lymph node was sampled for extemporaneous examination. Surprisingly, necrotising granulomas were documented. The diagnosis was definitely established by a positive culture of the lymph node tissue and molecular detection of MTB. Pulmonary involvement was excluded and she was started on antituberculous agents. In the absence of systemic, specific complaints or history of exposition, histopathology and culture of MTB remain a key step for the diagnosis.

  • thyroid disease
  • TB and other respiratory infections
  • head and neck surgery

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.


  • Contributors ANA conducted the study and helped with the conception, design and interpretation of data. TM helped with acquisition of data and reporting. JB analysed and described the histology image. MJB helped in the analysis and interpretation of data.

  • 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.

  • Patient consent for publication Obtained.

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