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Polyglandular endocrine emergency: lessons from a patient, which a book cannot teach
  1. Sajjad Ahmad1,
  2. Angeliki Giannopoulou2,
  3. Penelope Owen2,
  4. Atul Kalhan2
  1. 1Diabetes and Endocrinology, Cardiff University, Cardiff, UK
  2. 2Department of Diabetes and Endocrinology, Royal Glamorgan Hospital, Llantrisant, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Sajjad Ahmad, drsajjad618{at}


A 30-year-old woman with polyglandular autoimmune type 2 syndrome was found collapsed at home with a cardiac arrest, which required direct current cardioversion. On admission, she was hypothermic, hypotensive and bradycardic. Initial biochemical investigations were consistent with a pre-renal acute kidney injury, metabolic acidosis and a possible sepsis. She had significantly elevated thyroid-stimulating hormone levels on admission with the clinical profile consistent with dual Addisonian and myxoedema crisis. She received intravenous liothyronine and hydrocortisone along with supportive therapy. Echo showed severe left ventricular impairment with apical ballooning although coronary angiogram disclosed nothing abnormal. She made a gradual recovery and was discharged home after 2 weeks. She was diagnosed to have primary autoimmune hypothyroidism, Addison’s diseaseand type 1 diabetes and coeliac disease in October 2006, July 2007, May 2010 and September 2016, respectively. Her inability to stick to gluten-free diet at her workplace was considered a significant contributory factor for out-of-hospital cardiac arrest.

  • arrhythmias
  • endocrine system
  • resuscitation
  • adrenal disorders
  • thyroid disease

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  • Contributors SA: wrote the case report and performed literature search for writing discussion. AG: helped in literature search of similar published cases. PO: consultant responsible for the care of this patient, approved the final version. AK: consultant responsible for the care of this patient, took patient’s consent and performed critical analysis of the case, and made amendments where necessary.

  • 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 Obtained.

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

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