Primary hyperparathyroidism revisited in menopausal women with serum calcium in the upper normal range at population-based screening 8 years ago

World J Surg. 2002 Aug;26(8):931-6. doi: 10.1007/s00268-002-6621-0. Epub 2002 Jun 6.


Population-based screening showed 2.1% prevalence of primary hyperparathyroidism (pHPT) in postmenopausal women. Individuals with total serum (s)-calcium levels of 2.55 mmol/L or more at screening were diagnosed with pHPT when subsequent analysis supported inappropriately elevated intact parathormone (PTH) levels in relation to even normal s-calcium levels. The arbitrary diagnostic criteria were validated by parathyroidectomy. Herein we reinvestigated biochemical signs of pHPT in women not diagnosed with pHPT due to s-calcium 2.50 to 2.54 mmol/L (group A, n = 160) at screening or due to appropriate PTH levels on two occasions after screening (group B, n = 70). Altogether, 99 women in group A and 47 in group B underwent reinvestigation 8.8 years after screening when they were 65 to 84 years old. The s-calcium levels averaged 2.56 mmol/L and had increased in group A (mean 0.04 mmol/L) and decreased in group B (mean 0.05 mmol/L). A total of 48 and 18 females (48%, 38%), respectively, met the previously validated criteria of pHPT. Altogether 21% of them were hypercalcemic (range 2.60-3.12 mmol/L). Subgroup analysis showed that PTH had not increased with time (n = 47) and that atherogenic blood lipids, but not glucose levels, were similar in pHPT patients and matched controls (n = 37). Assuming the existence of pHPT already at screening, the prevalence of pHPT could be adjusted to 3.4%. Even the most liberal diagnostic criteria utilized at pHPT screening seemed to underdiagnose the disease by inefficient cutoff limits for s-calcium and PTH. Because one-fifth of the women with pHPT progressed to hypercalcemia, long-term follow-up is advocated for those with s-calcium in the upper normal range.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Calcium / blood*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Hyperparathyroidism / blood*
  • Hyperparathyroidism / epidemiology
  • Mass Screening*
  • Menopause / blood*
  • Middle Aged
  • Parathyroid Hormone / blood*
  • Prevalence
  • Reference Values


  • Parathyroid Hormone
  • Calcium