Advances in the diagnosis and the management of primary hyperparathyroidism

Ana Kashfia Islam
Therapeutic Advances in Chronic Disease 2021, 12: 20406223211015965
The parathyroid glands, one of the last organs to be discovered, are responsible for maintaining calcium homeostasis, and they continue to present the clinician with diagnostic and management challenges that are reviewed herein. Primary hyperparathyroidism (PHPT) comprises the vast majority of pathology of the parathyroid glands. The classic variant, presenting with elevated calcium and parathyroid hormone levels, has been studied extensively, but the current body of literature has added to our understanding of normocalcemic and normohormonal variants of PHPT, as well as syndromic forms of PHPT. All variants can lead to bone loss, kidney stones, declining renal function, and a variety of neurocognitive, gastrointestinal, and musculoskeletal complaints, although the majority of PHPT today is asymptomatic. Surgery remains the definitive treatment for PHPT, and advances in screening, evolving indications for surgery, new imaging modalities, and improvements in intra-operative methods have greatly changed the landscape. Surgery continues to produce excellent results in the hands of an experienced parathyroid surgeon. For those patients who are not candidates for surgery, therapeutic advances in medical management allow for improved control of the hypercalcemic state. Parathyroid cancer is extremely rare; the diagnosis is often made intra-operatively or on final pathology, and recurrence is common. The mainstay of treatment is normalization of serum calcium via surgery and medical adjuncts.

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