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Riedel's disease

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An extremely rare form of chronic inflammation of the thyroid gland, characterized by fibrous induration of the thyroid, interfering with production of thyroid hormone and compressing the adjacent trachea and oesophagus. Attacks of suffocation due to compression of the trachea are the usual presenting symptoms. The thyroid becomes enlarged and forms a, “iron hard” mass of scar tissue that may be confused with cancer of the thyroid.

Occurs most commonly in middle-aged and older individuals, twice as often in women as in men. Aetiology unknown. Possibly, autosomal dominant transmission.


  • B. M. C. L. Riedel:
    Die chronische, zur Bildung eisenharter Tumoren führende Entzündung der Schilddrüse.
    Verhandlungen der deutschen Gesellschaft für Chirurgie, 1896, 25: 101-105.

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