Background: Surgery is the treatment of choice for symptomatic primary hyperparathyroidism. The majority of research concerning intra-operative parathyroid hormone (ioPTH) measurements is conducted in university hospitals. Whether ioPTH measurements are feasible and useful in predicting the presence of remaining hyperfunctioning parathyroid tissue in a non-academic hospital remains uncertain. Methods: Data were collected on all patients with biochemically proven and surgically treated primary hyperparathyroidism treated at the Reinier de Graaf Hospital from August 2002 to December 2007. Results: Sixty-five patients were included. The mean pre-operative serum calcium level was 2.78 mmol/l (range 2.28 - 3.80 mmol/l, normal range 2.20 - 2.65 mmol/l) and the mean serum parathyroid hormone level 17.0 pmol/l (range 4.0 - 90.3 pmol/l, normal range 1.0 - 5.5 pmol/l). All patients were operated on for primary hyperparathyroidism, using ioPTH measurements during their first operation. Sensitivity and specificity rates of ioPTH measurements were 98% and 89%, respectively. The ioPTH test accurately indicated incomplete removal of all hyperfunctioning parathyroid tissue in 8 patients (12%). Five patients (8%) were reexplored immediately, of whom 4 were successfully treated in this single operative session. One patient was operated on successfully the next day. Two patients were operated on with a successful result during a second admission. In all the ioPTH measurements there was 1 false-positive result (1.5%) and 1 false-negative result (1.5%). The mean postoperative calcium value for the successfully treated patients was 2.34 mmol/l (range 2.14 - 2.71 mmol/l, normal range 2.20 - 2.65 mmol/l). The mean postoperative PTH level for the successfully treated patients was 3.76 pmol/l (range 0.40 - 7.1 pmol/l). Conclusion: Our data suggest that ioPTH measurements are feasible and useful in a non-academic hospital.
South African Journal of Surgery
Department of Surgery