Thyroiditis may be detected using nuclear testing

Nuclear medicine may be used in the detection of thyroiditis - a viral infection with symptoms that are similar to hyperthyroidism - according to Dr Biswarup Chakrabarti, senior consultant and head of the deptartment of nuclear medicine at BM Birla Heart Research Center in Kolkata, Express Healthcare reports.

Nuclear medicine uses radioactive material, either in its pure form or mixed with other medical products, and is introduced into the patient either orally or in injectable form for a diagnostic purpose. The radioactivity used in these tests is so low that the hazard is usually less than that of a single exposure of X-ray.

Those who have lost weight and experience heart palpitations may be advised by a doctor to receive tests for thyroid hormones such as T3, T4 and TSH. Tests could show that T3 and T4 levels are high and TSH is low, and physicians may diagnose the patient with hyperthyroidism, the cause of thyrotoxicosis. However, a viral infection, thyroiditis, can have similar symptoms. The treatment for both is radically different and only a nuclear scan can tell the difference.

According to Autoimmune Diseases, approximately 1.5 million adults and 200,000 children were diagnosed with thyroiditis in 1998. 

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