Clinical spectrum of primary hyperparathyroidism: evolution with changes in medical practice and technology.

Over the last 25 years, the perceived clinical spectrum of primary hyperparathyroidism (HPT) has changed dramatically from a disorder characterized by severe bone and renal disease to one typically manifested by few or mild symptoms and little evidence of organ damage. Reasons for this change in spectrum include changing demographics (primary HPT is primarily a disease of the middle-aged and elderly), diffusion of medical knowledge leading to a higher index of suspicion, and improved clinical laboratory technology (especially inexpensive and accurate determination of serum calcium and parathyroid hormone). In the first 343 cases of primary HPT seen at the Massachusetts General Hospital, 57% had renal stones, 23% had hyperparathyroid bone disease, and less than 1% had no symptoms. By contrast, studies dating from the availability of automated serum calcium measurement found renal stones and hyperparathyroid bone disease in less than 5% of cases, and about half of cases had few or no symptoms. Most patients with primary HPT today have mild, nonspecific symptoms, such as weakness, fatigue, and mental depression, and such signs as arterial hypertension and osteopenia, and detection of their hypercalcemia is generally serendipitous. The mildness and slow progression seen in many cases of primary HPT has resulted in much controversy about appropriate management.
AuthorsH Heath 3rd
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. S63-70; discussion S83-4 (Oct 1991) ISSN: 0884-0431 [Print] UNITED STATES
PMID1763671 (Publication Type: Journal Article, Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S., Review)
  • Age Factors
  • Bone Diseases, Metabolic (etiology)
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypercalcemia (diagnosis, etiology, physiopathology)
  • Hyperparathyroidism (classification, complications, physiopathology)
  • Kidney Diseases (etiology)
  • Male
  • Massachusetts
  • Risk Factors

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