Welcome to our website. It's always a work in progress and your feedback is welcome




Riedel's Thyroiditis


Riedel’s Thyroiditis is a very rare form of thyroid disease which causes a dense fibrosis (scarring of the connective tissue) that replaces normal thyroid tissue. This fibrotic process spreads to tissue in the neck outside the thyroid capsule.

Professor Bernhard Riedel is credited with recognising the disease in 1883. He called it eisenharte (iron-heart) struma (swollen neck or goitre). It is quite frequently called Riedel’s Struma even in English documents.

The thyroid becomes hard – hence the references to iron, stone and wood in descriptions of the consistency of the affected thyroid.

Hypothyroidism has been identified in approximately 30% of cases – though hyperthyroidism can occur.

Some experts have argued that Riedel’s Thyroiditis is not primarily a thyroid disease but rather that it is a manifestation of the systemic disorder multifocal fibrosclerosis. Approximately one third of cases are associated with clinical findings of multifocal fibrosclerosis at the time of diagnosis.

There is some evidence that Riedel’s Thyroiditis might be an IgG4–related systemic disease.


Airway obstruction
Hoarseness - Due to recurrent laryngeal involvement
Stridor - Due to tracheal compression


The overall incidence among outpatients was 1.6 cases per 100,000 population.


Riedel’s thyroiditis may respond to corticosteroids such as prednisone, tamoxifen and levothyroxine.
Surgery may be required to alleviate obstruction of the trachea.

Links and References

Riedel Thyroiditis

Riedel's Thyroiditis: A Clinical Review

Riedel's Thyroiditis: What Patients Need to Know
Learning More about Fibrous Thyroiditis / Invasive Thyroiditis

Acute and Subacute, and Riedel’s Thyroiditis


Have you been diagnosed with Riedel's Thyroiditis?

Because this is such a rare disorder, there are no UK support organisations for Riedel's Thyroiditis. If you are, or know someone who would be interested in getting in touch with other Riedel's Thyroiditis patients, please email lyn.mynott@thyroiduk.org


Created: 11.12.2012