Background An increased frequency of autoimmune thyroiditis is seen in patients with chronic urticaria and angioedema (CUA) and it has been hypothesized that autoimmunity may be playing a role in the pathogenesis of CUA. The aim of this study was to learn the extent of autoimmune thyroid disease in a series of patients who presented with CUA.

Methods Thyroid function tests and thyroid autoantibodies were measured by radioimmunoassay and immunoradiometric assay respectively in 94 CUA patients and 80 age- and sex-matched healthy volunteers.

Results Eleven patients (11.7%) were found to have thyroglobulin antibodies (TGA) and nine patients (9.57%) thyroid microsomal (TMA) titers ranging from 150 to 1340.37 and from 165.73 to 8000 lU/mL respectively. Both antibodies were detected in three control cases (3.7%). The association was statistically significant (P < 0.01). Six of 11 patients had thyroid dysfunction and the other five cases were euthyroid.

Conclusions Our results justified the use of TMA and TGA for the early diagnosis of autoimmune thyroiditis in combination with CUA. The higher frequency of these antibodies in our patients, along with results from previously published data, suggest that this entity may reflect an autoimmune basis in some CUA patients. Thyroid function tests are not enough to rule out thyroid disease, and thyroid antibody tests should be carried out in all patients with CUA.