THYROIDITIS is a little known and infrequently recognized disease process. As recently as 1935 Cochrane and Nowak1 wrote: "It is no exaggeration to say that thyroiditis as an entity is unknown to the average internist and surgeon." Patterson and Starkey,2 after a study of 24 cases of chronic thyroiditis in 1948, were amazed at the low incidence of correct preoperative diagnosis. Riedel3 described ligneous thyroiditis in 1896, Hashimoto3 described struma lymphomatosa in 1912, and in recent years Crile5 has written extensively about subacute thyroiditis. It is a little difficult to understand why such unfamiliarity with the condition exists.
Among 7,045 patients with thyroid disease seen at the Cleveland Clinic between 1936 and 1947, 143 cases of thyroiditis were encountered.6 A similar ratio (24 in 1,595) is reported from the Jewish Hospital in Brooklyn.7 At the Roosevelt Hospital in New York 1 in 100