Pharyngoesophageal diverticula simulating thyroid nodules: An unusual occurrence with unique features

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© 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Pharyngoesophageal diverticula (PED) of the Zenker's and Killian-Jamieson types arise in close proximity to the thyroid gland, and may rarely be confused with a thyroid nodule on ultrasonography. In this brief report, we detail the cytologic, clinical, and radiologic findings of three PED that were thought to be thyroid nodules, and were subjected to fine-needle aspiration (FNA). The patients were females with an age range of 51-64 years. All three patients had multiple thyroid nodules, and two patients reported symptoms attributable to the diverticulum. Nodule sizes ranged from 1.0 to 2.7 cm, and either the right or left thyroid lobe could be involved. Microcalcifications were present by ultrasonography in all three cases. FNA of these thyroid nodule mimics showed squamous cells with granular or amorphous debris, bacterial and/or fungal colonies, inflammation, and food particles. These cytologic features, particularly the presence of vegetable or meat fragments, are characteristic, and have also been reported in the few previous reports of PED. The presence of a diverticulum was confirmed with imaging studies in all our patients. Although a rare occurrence, the inadvertent FNA of a PED masquerading as a thyroid nodule is important to recognize, as a recommendation for appropriate radiologic studies could potentially avoid inappropriate therapy for thyroid disease.

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