The purpose of this article is to analyze the sonographic appearance of nodular Hashimoto thyroiditis.
As part of an ongoing multiinstitutional study, patients who underwent ultrasound examination and fine-needle aspiration of one or more thyroid nodules were analyzed for multiple predetermined sonographic features. Patients completed a questionnaire, including information about thyroid function and thyroid medication. Patients (n = 61) with fine-needle aspiration cytologic results consistent with nodular Hashimoto thyroiditis (n = 64) were included in the study.
The mean (+/- SD) diameter of nodular Hashimoto thyroiditis was 15 +/- 7.33 mm. Nodular Hashimoto thyroiditis occurred as a solitary nodule in 36% (23/64) of cases and in the setting of five or more nodules in 23% (15/64) of cases. Fifty-five percent (35/64) of the cases of nodular Hashimoto thyroiditis occurred within a sonographic background of diffuse Hashimoto thyroiditis, and 45% (29/64) of cases occurred within normal thyroid parenchyma. The sonographic appearance was extremely variable. It was most commonly solid (69% [42/61] of cases) and hypoechoic (47% [27/58] of cases). Twenty percent (13/64) of nodules had calcifications (seven with nonspecific bright reflectors, four with macrocalcifications, and three eggshell), and 5% (3/64) of nodules had colloid. Twenty-seven percent (17/64) of nodules had a hypoechoic halo. The margins were well defined in 60% (36/60) and ill defined in 40% (24/60) of nodules. On Doppler analysis, 35% (22/62) of nodules were hypervascular, 42% (26/62) were isovascular or hypovascular, and 23% (14/62) were avascular.
The sonographic features and vascularity of nodular Hashimoto thyroiditis were extremely variable.