Myxedema Coma

Myxedema coma is a rare condition that needs emergency care. It can occur in a person who has untreated, severe hypothyroidism. It usually occurs in older adults who have other illnesses, such as a serious infection or heart attack, along with their hypothyroidism.

These life-threatening symptoms may occur:

  • Mental deterioration such as apathy, confusion, and psychosis
  • Extremely low body temperature (hypothermia)
  • Extremely slow heartbeat (fewer than 60 beats a minute)
  • Heart failure
  • Respiratory failure

Death can occur if myxedema coma is not treated. Emergency treatment may include thyroid hormone replacement given in a vein (intravenously) and steroid therapy.

Is it an emergency?

If you or someone in your care has chest pains, difficulty breathing, or severe bleeding, it could be a life-threatening emergency. Call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number immediately.
If you are concerned about a possible poisoning or exposure to a toxic substance, call Poison Control now at 1-800-567-8911.

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