Best Pract Res Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2012 Aug;26(4):517-22. doi: 10.1016/j.beem.2012.01.004. Epub 2012 May 31.


Hypoparathyroidism is characterized by hypocalcemia, hyperphosphatemia and low or inappropriately normal levels of parathyroid hormone (PTH). Pseudohypoparathyroidism is characterized by similar findings however PTH is elevated due to PTH resistance. PTH is a key calcium regulating hormone essential for calcium homeostasis, vitamin D-dependant calcium absorption, renal calcium reabsorption and renal phosphate clearance. The most common cause of hypoparathyroidism is iatrogenic in the setting of anterior neck surgery. Hypoparathyroidism may be due to congenital or acquired disorders. Causes include autoimmune diseases, genetic abnormalities, destruction or infiltrative disorders of the parathyroids. Impaired secretion of PTH may be seen with hypomagnesemia or hypermagnesemia Work-up includes a comprehensive history, physical examination, and a relevant biochemical investigation. Treatment of symptomatic or profound asymptomatic hypocalcemia (Corrected Calcium (Ca) < 1.9 mmol/L) is aimed at rapid intravenous administration of calcium and oral supplementation of vitamin D metabolites. Oral calcium and vitamin D analogs are critical in the treatment of hypocalcemia. In the long-term management of hypoparathyroidism thiazide diuretics are of value as they enhance renal calcium reabsorption and increase serum calcium and are of particular benefit in those with activating mutations of the calcium-sensing receptor. Parathyroid hormone replacement is of great value in improving serum calcium and lowering serum phosphate as well as the doses of calcium and calcitriol supplementation required. It has been shown to lower urinary calcium losses. Careful monitoring of vitamin D, phosphorous, and calcium is necessary during acute and long-term therapy. Although hypocalcemic patients commonly present with symptoms of neuromuscular irritability with perioral numbers paresthesias, tingling, seizures and, bronchospasm; hypocalcemia may be identified on the biochemical profile of an asymptomatic patient.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Intravenous
  • Calcium / blood
  • Calcium / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Hypocalcemia / blood*
  • Hypocalcemia / drug therapy
  • Hypocalcemia / etiology
  • Hypoparathyroidism / diagnosis*
  • Hypoparathyroidism / drug therapy
  • Hypoparathyroidism / etiology
  • Parathyroid Hormone / blood
  • Vitamin D / blood
  • Vitamin D / therapeutic use*


  • Parathyroid Hormone
  • Vitamin D
  • Calcium