Cardiovascular Outcomes of Thyroidectomy or Radioactive Iodine Ablation for Graves’ Disease

Austin Gibson, Atman Dave, Craig Johnson, Anupam Kotwal, Abbey L. Fingeret

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Background: Treatment options for Graves’ disease (GD) include medical management with antithyroid medications, radioactive iodine (RAI) ablation, or total thyroidectomy (TT). Definitive treatment with RAI ablation may be associated with worse cardiovascular morbidity and mortality than TT. We sought to determine the rate of cardiovascular morbidity before and after definitive treatment for GD. Methods: This study is a retrospective single-institution study of sequential adult patients with GD from 2012 to 2018 treated with RAI ablation or TT. Patients with prior thyroid surgery or RAI ablation with subsequent thyroidectomy were excluded. Demographic and clinical variables were collected from diagnosis of GD to last follow-up. Data analysis was performed with descriptive statistics, univariate analysis with Fisher's exact test for categorical variables and the Mann–Whitney U test for continuous variables. Results: One-hundred and eighty-four patients underwent definitive treatment for GD during the study period, of which 164 met inclusion criteria. One hundred and ten patients (67%) in the study group had TT and 54 (33%) had RAI ablation with a mean dose of 18.4 mCi (standard deviation 6.1). There were no differences in clinical or demographic factors in patients undergoing RAI ablation versus TT for definitive treatment including age, sex, thyroid-stimulating hormone level, free thyroxine level, or thyroid-stimulating immunoglobulin level at time of diagnosis, nor was there any difference in pretreatment cardiovascular comorbidity. Patients with TT had higher rates of resolution of arrhythmia after treatment than those undergoing RAI ablation, P = 0.02. There were no differences in treatment-related complications between the groups. Conclusions: For patients undergoing definitive treatment for GD, TT is associated with improved rate of resolution of cardiac arrhythmia compared with RAI ablation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)486-491
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Surgical Research
StatePublished - Dec 2020


  • Graves disease
  • Outcomes
  • Radioactive iodine ablation
  • Thyroidectomy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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