Secondary hyperparathyroidism in children with chronic renal failure: pathogenesis and treatment

Cheryl P Sanchez
Paediatric Drugs 2003, 5 (11): 763-76
Despite advances in the management of patients with chronic renal failure, histologic features associated with secondary hyperparathyroidism remain the predominant skeletal findings; however, over the last decade the prevalence of adynamic bone has increased in both adult and pediatric patients with chronic renal failure. The management of children with secondary hyperparathyroidism and mild to moderate chronic renal failure should be started early, and should include correction of hypocalcemia and metabolic acidosis, maintenance of age-appropriate serum phosphorus levels, and institution of vitamin D therapy when serum intact parathyroid hormone (PTH) measurements are elevated to maintain the blood levels within normal limits; however, in children undergoing chronic dialysis therapy, the current recommendation is to maintain the serum intact PTH levels at least 2-4 times the upper limits of normal to prevent the development of low bone turnover disease. Serum calcium, phosphorus, alkaline phosphatase, and PTH levels should be monitored frequently, especially in infants and very young children. Discontinuation or reduction of vitamin D should be considered when there is a rapid decline in PTH levels, persistent elevation in serum calcium and serum phosphorus levels, and a significant diminution in alkaline phosphatase levels. In addition, a reduction in the calcium concentration of the dialysis fluid, and judicious use of calcium-containing salts as phosphate binding agents should also be performed in these patients. Although not yet extensively used in pediatric patients with secondary hyperparathyroidism, several therapeutic alternatives, such as the less calcemic vitamin D analogs, including paricalcitol [19-nor-1,25-(OH)(2)D(2)] and doxercalciferol [1-alpha-(OH)(2)D(2)], calcimimetics, and the availability of a calcium-free, aluminum-free phosphate binder such as sevelamer hydrochloride and lanthanum carbonate, may play significant roles in the future management of children with secondary hyperparathyroidism to promote linear growth, prevent parathyroid gland hyperplasia, avoid calciphylaxis and, in the long run, avert vascular calcifications.

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