Diagnosis and management of asymptomatic hyperparathyroidism: safety, efficacy, and deficiencies in our knowledge.

Several recent articles question whether patients with asymptomatic hyperparathyroidism and minimal hypercalcemia should be treated by parathyroidectomy. We therefore reviewed our experience in 103 consecutive patients with primary hyperparathyroidism who were treated by parathyroidectomy to determine, first, how many of these patients had asymptomatic or symptomatic hyperparathyroidism, and second, did these patients benefit from parathyroidectomy? We also analyzed the safety of parathyroidectomy in 426 consecutive patients, including 79 who required reoperation for hyperparathyroidism, specifically looking for complications and the outcome of these procedures. Our study documents the following: (1) only 2 of 103 (2%) patients referred for parathyroidectomy had "true" asymptomatic hyperparathyroidism; (2) only symptoms of fatigue, bone pain, and weight loss correlated with the degree of hypercalcemia, whereas muscular weakness, psychiatric symptoms, nocturia, polyuria, recent memory loss, constipation, and nephrolithiasis did not; (3) only 1 of 15 patients who were referred as asymptomatic were truly asymptomatic after more thorough questioning, and all 14 improved following parathyroidectomy; (4) 81% of the patients who were referred with symptoms improved following parathyroidectomy; and (5) permanent complications occurred in only 4 patients. All but 1 had reoperations for persistent or recurrent hyperparathyroidism (3 vocal cord paralyses and 1 hypoparathyroidism requiring autotransplantation of cryopreserved parathyroid tissue). There was 1 death of an 84-year-old woman with hypercalcemic crisis. Thus, most patients with hyperparathyroidism are symptomatic and benefit symptomatically and metabolically from parathyroidectomy, which is a safe operation.
AuthorsO H Clark, W Wilkes, A E Siperstein, Q Y Duh
JournalJournal of bone and mineral research : the official journal of the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research (J Bone Miner Res) Vol. 6 Suppl 2 Pg. S135-42; discussion 151-2 (Oct 1991) ISSN: 0884-0431 [Print] UNITED STATES
PMID1763665 (Publication Type: Journal Article, Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S., Review)
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypercalcemia (etiology)
  • Hyperparathyroidism (diagnosis, epidemiology, surgery, therapy)
  • Parathyroidectomy
  • Postoperative Complications
  • Risk Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires

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