The International Journal of Romanian Society of Endocrinology / Registered in 1938

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January - March 2021, Volume 17, Issue 1
General Endocrinology

Ihezagire I, Bayramoglu Z, Akpinar YE, Adaletli I

The Role of Superb Microvascular Imaging and Shear Wave Elastography in Differentiation of Thyroid Nodules from Intrathyroidal Ectopic Thymus in Children

Acta Endo (Buc) 2021, 17 (1): 33-41
doi: 10.4183/aeb.2021.33

Background. Ectopic thymus could be located intrathyroidal, therefore fine ultrasound details are useful for this differentiation. Aim. To investigate differences in stiffness and vascularity properties among thyroid nodules and intrathyroidal ectopic thymus (IET) by obtaining quantitative data in children. Patients and Methods. Twenty-seven thyroid nodules and 20 IET in children were evaluated in terms of vascularity index (VI) via superb microvascular imaging (SMI) and stiffness by shear wave elastography (SWE). Differences in the volume, VI, and SWE parameters of the lesions were assessed by using the Mann-Whitney U test. Association of the age, lesion volume, SWE, and VI parameters was investigated by using Spearman’s correlation analysis. The optimal cut-off values for stiffness and vascularity in the differentiation of nodules from IET were calculated with ROC analysis. Results. The median (range) age of the participants with thyroid nodules and IET were 15.6 (10-18) years and 8.8 (3-14) years, respectively. The medians (range) VI of the IET and thyroid nodules were 4.7 (0.2-16) % and 23.8 (7.5-40)%, respectively. The median SWE values were 7.6 (4.4-9.5) kPa and 15.58 (8.5-23.4) kPa for IET and nodules, respectively. There have been highly significant differences among medians of volume, SWE, and VI values of the lesions. Significant positive correlations were found between VI and SWE parameters (p=0.001, r=0.64), and volume with VI (p=0.018, r=0.34) and SWE (p:0.001, r= 0.5). The diagnostic accuracies were 93%, 91% with the cut-off values as 9.2 kPa, 13% for the SWE and SMI, respectively. IETs were found to be less vascular and less stiff than thyroid nodules. Conclusions. IETs could be easily and confidently differentiated from nodules using SWE and SMI quantifications. This discrimination prompts the reduction of unnecessary interventional procedures.

Keywords: intrathyroidal ectopic thymus, thyroid nodule, superb microvascular imaging, shear wave elastography, children.

Correspondence: Yunus Emre Akpinar MD, Biruni Üniversitesi Tip Fakültesi, Radiology, Besyol, Eski Londra Asfalti, No:10, Kucukcekmece, Istanbul, 34010, Turkey, E-mail: