Clinical features and Surgical Outcomes of Thyroid Goitre Presenting to Ear, Nose and Throat Department of Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital, Blantyre, Malawi

Michel Tohadi Ahoka, Wakisa Mulwafu

  1. Department of surgery, Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital, Blantyre, Malawi
    *Corresponding Author: Michel Tohadi Ahoka; E-mail:


In Malawi there is a perception that goitre is common and causes significant public health and economic burdens. The purpose of this study was to assess the demographic distribution, clinical presentation, investigations, management, outcomes and complications of goitre seen at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital (QECH), Blantyre, Malawi.
A single hospital-based descriptive retrospective study from January 2017 to December 2018 for all patients presenting with goitre.
Out of 9073 patients who presented to ENT department, 105 patients presented with goitre representing 1% of all patients seen during the study period. The Male: Female ratio was 1:25. The mean symptom duration with goitre was 4 years (SD +/- 6.4). Thyroid function test results were available in 54 patients and out of these, 53(98%) patients were euthyroid. Ultrasound scan (USS) reports were available in 44 patients, of these 32(73%) were multinodular goitres. In 70 cases, pathology results were available and showed that 20% were thyroid cancers and that papillary thyroid carcinoma was the commonest cancer (64%).Two recurrent laryngeal nerve injuries were recorded in 79 surgical procedures representing 2.5% of patients (6.3% overall complication rate). Inpatient stay ranged from 2 days to 49 days (median 3 days).
Goitre at our centre is more common in women than in men. One in five patients in this cohort had thyroid cancers. This prevalence is higher than other areas in the world highlighting the need for cytology services on every patient before surgery and histology services after surgery. Recurrent laryngeal nerve injury and other complications were infrequent demonstrating local high safety of thyroid surgery, despite late presentation to the ENT department.

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