Serum parathyroid hormone is associated with increased mortality independent of 25-hydroxy vitamin d status, bone mass, and renal function in the frail and very old: a cohort study

J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2004 Nov;89(11):5477-81. doi: 10.1210/jc.2004-0307.


Very frail older people constitute an increasing proportion of the aging population and often have vitamin D deficiency and impaired renal function. Primary hyperparathyroidism has been associated with increased mortality, but it is unclear whether secondary hyperparathyroidism is associated with increased mortality independent of renal function and vitamin D status. This study aimed to examine the effect of vitamin D deficiency and secondary hyperparathyroidism on mortality in frail older people after accounting for renal function and general measures of health. We evaluated 842 subjects (182 men with a mean age of 81.9 yr and 660 women with a mean age of 86.2 yr) living in residential aged care facilities in Sydney, Australia in a prospective, cohort study. Over a mean duration of follow-up of 31 months, 345 subjects died. Baseline serum 25-hydroxy vitamin D, serum PTH, and bone ultrasound attenuation were significantly associated with mortality in univariate and multivariate analyses (for PTH, a hazard ratio of 1.39 for time to death) after correcting for age and gender. In multivariate analyses that corrected for health status, nutritional status, and renal function, PTH remained a significant predictor of mortality but not 25-hydroxy vitamin D or bone ultrasound attenuation. Serum PTH appears to be associated with increased mortality in the frail elderly independent of vitamin D status, renal function, bone mass, and measures of general health. The mechanism of this effect requires further investigation.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Bone Density*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Frail Elderly*
  • Humans
  • Kidney / physiology*
  • Male
  • Parathyroid Hormone / blood*
  • Vitamin D / analogs & derivatives*
  • Vitamin D / blood*


  • Parathyroid Hormone
  • Vitamin D
  • 25-hydroxyvitamin D