CLINICAL RESEARCH
Consequences of bleeding after thyroid surgery – analysis of 7805 operations performed in a single center
 
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Submission date: 2015-09-21
Final revision date: 2015-11-04
Acceptance date: 2015-11-08
Online publication date: 2016-10-17
Publication date: 2018-02-28
 
Arch Med Sci 2018;14(2):329–335
 
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Introduction: Surgical treatment of thyroid gland diseases is associated with the possibility of severe complications. The most dangerous of them is bleeding. Current studies focus on its risk factors, rather than reoperation-related consequences.
Material and methods: We analyzed 7805 thyroid operations performed from 1996 to 2014 in the Clinic of General, Gastroenterological and Endocrine Surgery of Wroclaw Medical University. Typical risk factors, symptoms and consequences of bleeding were analyzed.
Results: Among operated patients 88.2% were female and 11.8% male. Bleeding occurred in 84 (1.08%) patients. Sex (p = 0.006), preoperative thyroid pathology (p = 0.03), and type of operation (p < 0.001) are significant risk factors for bleeding, while retrosternal goiter and surgeon’s experience are not. Risk of bleeding is highest in the case of male sex, toxic goiter and total resection of the thyroid gland. Most reoperations took place within 6 h. In 88.8% of cases of this kind of complication the surgeon indicated the exact source of bleeding; most commonly it was the neck muscles, skin and subcutaneous tissue, or the thyroid stump. Three patients required a second reoperation, 24 suffered further complications, and 8 required transfer to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). Cardiac arrest occurred in 3 patients and 2 suffered bilateral vocal cord palsy.
Conclusions: Bleeding after thyroid operations is a direct life threat that requires immediate intervention. As a result death may occur, half of patients suffer other complications and some require intensive care. The risk is highest in the case of male sex, toxic goiter and total resection of the thyroid gland. Each patient after thyroid surgery needs to be closely observed. An operating theatre and ICU should be available at all times.
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