West African Journal of Medicine

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Recurrent Pericardial Effusion Associated with Hypothyroidism in Down Syndrome: A Case Report

MU Anah, VO Ansa, AU Etiuma, EE Udoh, EO Ineji, AA Asindi


Background: The complex of Down Syndromehypothyroidism-pericardial effusion is largely unreported in sub-Sahara.
Objective: To present and highlight an unusual manifestation of hypothyroidism.
Methods: A 16-year-old girl with confirmed Down Syndrome presented with complaints of generalised body swelling of eight months’ duration. Her work-up consisted of full clinical and laboratory evaluation including ECG and echocardiography.
Results: The patient was diagnosed of Down’s Syndrome at birth but was lost to follow-up after at eight years of age. Body swelling was associated with clinical features of heart failure. Echocardiography showed massive pericardial effusion. Serum l-thyroxine was less than 0.5μg/dl and TSH >40iu/l. The heart failure and menstrual irregularities responded to l-thyroxine therapy.
Conclusion: This appears to be the first report of the complex of Down syndrome, hypothyroidism and pericardial effusion in a Nigerian child. Thyroid function test is therefore recommended as a part of baseline investigation for Nigerian children with Down syndrome as is the practice.

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