Background: Delayed technetium-99m sestamibi single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) scans were prospectively analyzed in a large series of patients with primary hyperparathyroidism.
Methods: Three hundred thirty-eight patients underwent sestamibi-SPECT and were explored. Prospective data included preoperative demographics, clinical, sestamibi, and operative findings, laboratory values, and pathologic and follow-up laboratory results from all patients.
Results: Between 1994 and 2000, 287 unexplored patients (85%) and 51 re-explored patients (15%) participated. The abnormal parathyroid glands excised from 336 of 338 patients included 299 single adenomas (88%) and 23 double adenomas (7%), and 14 patients had multigland hyperplasia (4%). Sestamibi SPECT correctly lateralized 349 of 400 abnormal parathyroid glands, with an overall sensitivity of 87%, an accuracy of 94%, and a positive predictive value of 86%. Precise localization occurred in 82% of the abnormal parathyroid glands. Sestamibi sensitivity was similar in unexplored (87%) and reoperative (92%) cases; two hundred eighty-six of 299 (96%) solitary adenomas, 38 of 46 (83%) double adenomas, but only 25 of 55 (45%) hyperplastic glands were identified. The mean weight of the true-positive glands (1252 +/- 1980 mg) was greater than that of the false-negative glands (297 +/- 286 mg) (P <.005). Three patients had persistent primary hyperparathyroidism, in spite of the excision of sestamibi-identified lesions in 2 cases. Follow-up indicated curative resection in 99% of the unexplored cases and 94% of the remedial cases.
Conclusions: Sestamibi SPECT is highly accurate for the localization of parathyroid adenomas in unexplored and re-explored cases, where it is often the only imaging required. Its sensitivity is limited in multiglandular disease.