It is generally considered that thyroid dermopathy and acropachy almost always occur with Graves' ophthalmopathy and that these two extrathyroidal manifestations are indicators of severe autoimmune disease and hence of more severe ophthalmopathy. However, documentation of these anecdotal impressions is needed. We assessed the presence of optic neuropathy and frequency of orbital decompression in 2 referral cohorts: 40 patients with acropachy and dermopathy (acropachy group) and 138 patients with Graves' dermopathy and no acropachy (dermopathy group). We compared those cohorts with a cohort of 114 patients who had ophthalmopathy without dermopathy and acropachy (control group). We considered optic neuropathy and the need for orbital decompression to be indicators of severe Graves' ophthalmopathy. The frequency of orbital decompression was significantly higher in the dermopathy group than in the control group (odds ratio, 3.55) and even higher in the acropachy group (odds ratios: 20.68 for acropachy group compared with control group; 5.83 for acropachy group compared with dermopathy group). The same trend occurred with optic neuropathy but was not statistically significant (α = 0.05; p = 0.07). Five patients were exceptions: they had definite Graves' dermopathy without clinically obvious ophthalmopathy. In conclusion, dermopathy and acropachy appear to be markers of severe ophthalmopathy. Occasionally, however, Graves' dermopathy occurs without clinical ophthalmopathy.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism