CLASSIFICATION of diseases of the thyroid has been oversimplified. Excluding tumors and infections, there has been a trend to consider all thyroid conditions as being one of three varieties, namely, hypothyroid, euthyroid, and hyperthyroid. If it were accurate, this would constitute an ideal state of affairs from the standpoint of the clinician as well as the patient.
The radioactive iodine tracer test has been considered by many1 to be the "final word" in this business of herding all thyroids into one of these appropriate stalls. Having had some small measure of experience2 with radioiodine tracer studies, I began to notice this tendency toward an empirical attitude with regard to the diagnosis of thyroid disease. On the other hand, with the passage of time some overly severe3 and possibly unscientific criticism of the procedure has arisen.
In this paper suggestions for the better use of this diagnostic tool