Incidental Thyroid Nodules Found During Acute Stroke Angiography: Prevalence, Outcomes, and Suggested Management Guidelines

Academic Article


  • Objective: In stroke patients, extensive interventions for incidental thyroid nodules can be burdensome and costly. It appears that the risk of malignancy has not been reported in angiographically detected nodules and outcomes have not yet been described in patients, receiving acute stroke work-up. Materials and Methods: Incidental thyroid nodules were found on neck computerized tomography angiography or magnetic resonance angiography performed during inpatient stroke workup (January 2017 to September 2019). These patient cases were reviewed based on sonography reports, diagnosis, and follow-up care. Results: Of the 13 563 patients, 192 had incidental thyroid nodules (prevalence 1.4%). Twenty-six died from comorbidities and 22 received thyroid sonography. Twelve nodules from 10 patients had sonographic characteristics for biopsy: 10 benign, 1 indeterminate, and 1 papillary thyroid cancer (risk of malignancy: 8%). The cancer patient underwent hemithyroidectomy and is disease-free. Follow-up of the remaining patients showed no worsening or suspicious nodules. The American College of Radiology (ACR) guidelines would have prevented 8 unnecessary sonograms and 1 biopsy without missing malignancy. Conclusion: Although a small risk of malignancy was noted, 95% of patients undergoing additional diagnostic thyroid testing had clinically insignificant results. The ACR guidelines can prevent unnecessary interventions. Given the 14% mortality rate in the study cohort, it is proposed that a clinical evaluation of patients is important before undergoing further diagnostics, as comorbidities may be worse than a thyroid cancer.
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Lin DM; Arevalo YA; Lin C
  • Start Page

  • 451
  • End Page

  • 456
  • Volume

  • 37
  • Issue

  • 5