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Thyrotoxicosis in Africa: a systematic review and meta-analysis of the clinical presentation

, Tajudin Adesegun Adetunji, Mosunmoluwa Adio

Abstract: Background: Thyrotoxicosis is a common endocrine disorder. The clinical presentation is variable, and it is often misdiagnosed or diagnosed late in Africa. This study was aimed at collating and analyzing the clinical characteristics of the disease across the continent so as to enhance correct and timely diagnosis. Methods: The study is a systematic review with a meta-analysis. Studies, done in Africa, which documented the clinical features of thyrotoxicosis were selected. African Journal Online (AJOL), PubMed, SCOPUS and Google Scholar, Research Square, SciELO, and medRxiv were systematically searched using the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines. The study quality was assessed using the Newcastle-Ottawa scale. Heterogeneity was determined using I2 statistic and Cochran’s Q test. LFK index and the symmetry of the Doi plot were used to assess publication bias. Results: The eligible studies were 59 and the total sample size was 9592. The most common symptoms of thyrotoxicosis on the continent included palpitations (69%), weight loss (65%), heat intolerance (64%), tiredness (49%), increased appetite (49%), hyperhidrosis (48%), and insomnia (47%). The most common signs were thyromegaly (88%), tachycardia (67%), sweaty palms (54%), hand tremor (49%), and exophthalmos (49%). Atrial fibrillation, heart failure, and thyrotoxic heart disease were found in 9, 12, and 22% respectively. Other findings were hypertension (25%) and diabetes (9%). Conclusion: Clinical presentation of thyrotoxicosis varies, and understanding these peculiarities would mitigate misdiagnosis and delayed diagnosis in Africa.
Keywords: Thyrotoxicosis / Clinical presentation / Africa / Meta-analysis / Signs and symptoms / Systematic review

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