Diagnosis of hyperparathyroidism

Annu Rev Med. 1977:28:111-7. doi: 10.1146/annurev.me.28.020177.000551.


States of hypersecretion of PTH may occur primarily, or in response to other physiologic abnormalities. Primary hyperparathyroidism must be considered in the differential diagnosis of hypercalcemia, nephrolithiasis, metabolic bone disease, and pancreatitis and peptic-ulcer disease. The clinical manifestations of this disease have become more subtle with improved detection. The serum calcium level is almost always elevated, and when it it accompanied by relatively high serum PTH levels or increased urinary cAMP excretion, the diagnosis is usually secure. Findings of hypophosphatemia, decreased renal tubular reabsorption of phosphorus, hypercalciuria, and characteristic roentgenographic changes support the diagnosis of hyperparathyroidism, but are not prerequisites for that diagnosis. Most cases will come to operation, and experienced intraoperative assessment is necessary for the correct distinction between multiglandular disease and that involving only a single gland. We expect that a clearer understanding of the histopathologic features of these diseases, and improvement in the methods for measurement of PTH will be the main areas of advancement in the diagnosis of hyperparathyroidism in the next few years.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Bone Diseases
  • Calcium / blood
  • Cyclic AMP / urine
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Humans
  • Hyperparathyroidism / diagnosis*
  • Hyperparathyroidism / physiopathology
  • Hyperparathyroidism / surgery
  • Parathyroid Hormone / blood
  • Phosphates / blood


  • Parathyroid Hormone
  • Phosphates
  • Cyclic AMP
  • Calcium