Nontraditional manifestations of primary hyperparathyroidism

J Clin Densitom. 2013 Jan-Mar;16(1):40-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jocd.2012.11.008.


Classical primary hyperparathyroidism (PHPT) was previously a multisystemic symptomatic disorder not only with overt skeletal and renal complications but also with neuropsychological, cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, and rheumatic effects. The presentation of PHPT has evolved, and today most patients are asymptomatic. Osteitis fibrosa cystica is rarely seen today, and nephrolithiasis is less common. Gastrointestinal and rheumatic symptoms are not part of the clinical spectrum of modern PHPT. It remains unclear whether neuropsychological symptoms and cardiovascular disease, neither of which are currently indications for recommending parathyroidectomy (PTX), are part of the modern phenotype of PHPT. A number of observational studies suggest that mild PHPT is associated with depression, decreased quality of life, and changes in cognition, but limited data from randomized controlled trials (RCTs) have not indicated consistent benefits after surgery. The increased cardiovascular morbidity and mortality in severe PHPT has not been definitively demonstrated in mild disease, although there is some evidence for more subtle cardiovascular abnormalities, such as increased vascular stiffness, among others. Results from observational studies that have assessed the effect of PTX on cardiovascular health have been conflicting. The single RCT in this area did not demonstrate that PTX was beneficial. Despite recent progress in these areas, more data from rigorously designed studies are needed to better inform the clinical management of patients with asymptomatic PHPT.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Asymptomatic Diseases
  • Bone Density
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / complications
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / physiopathology
  • Coronary Artery Disease / complications
  • Coronary Artery Disease / physiopathology
  • Endothelium, Vascular / physiology
  • Humans
  • Hyperparathyroidism, Primary / complications*
  • Hyperparathyroidism, Primary / diagnosis*
  • Hyperparathyroidism, Primary / physiopathology
  • Hyperparathyroidism, Primary / psychology
  • Hypertrophy, Left Ventricular / complications
  • Quality of Life