JOURNAL ARTICLE
REVIEW

Primary hyperparathyroidism

Barbara C Silva, Natalie E Cusano, John P Bilezikian
Best Practice & Research. Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism 2018 September 28, : 101247
30477754
Primary hyperparathyroidism (PHPT), the most common cause of hypercalcemia, is most often identified in postmenopausal women with hypercalcemia and parathyroid hormone (PTH) levels that are either frankly elevated or inappropriately normal. The clinical presentation of PHPT includes three phenotypes: target organ involvement of the renal and skeletal systems; mild asymptomatic hypercalcemia; and more recently, high PTH levels in the context of persistently normal albumin-corrected and ionized serum calcium values. The factors that determine which of these three clinical presentations is more likely to predominate in a given country include the extent to which biochemical screening is employed, the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency, and whether a medical center or practitioner tends to routinely measure PTH levels in the evaluation of low bone density or frank osteoporosis. When biochemical screening is common, asymptomatic primary hyperparathyroidism is the most likely form of the disease. In countries where vitamin D deficiency is prevalent and biochemical screening is not a feature of the health care system, symptomatic disease with skeletal abnormalities is likely to predominate. Finally, when PTH levels are part of the evaluation for low bone mass, the normocalcemic variant is seen. Guidelines for surgical removal of hyperfunctioning parathyroid tissue apply to all three clinical forms of the disease. If guidelines for surgery are not met, parathyroidectomy can also be an appropriate option if there are no medical contraindications to surgery. In settings where either the serum calcium or bone mineral density is of concern, and surgery is not an option, pharmacological approaches are available and effective. Referencing in this article the most current published articles, we review the different presentations of PHPT, with particular emphasis on recent advances in our understanding of target organ involvement and management.

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