Undiagnosed Primary Hyperparathyroidism and Recurrent Miscarriage: The First Prospective Pilot Study

World J Surg. 2018 Mar;42(3):639-645. doi: 10.1007/s00268-017-4395-7.


Background: Primary hyperparathyroidism (pHPT) in pregnancy is reported to be associated with significant maternal and foetal complications and an up to threefold increase in the risk of miscarriage. However, the true incidence of pHPT in pregnancy, complete and miscarried, is unknown and there are no data on the prevalence of undiagnosed pHPT in recurrent miscarriage (RM) (≥3 consecutive miscarriages under 24-week gestation). This is the first prospective study aiming to establish the prevalence of undiagnosed pHPT in RM.

Methods: Following UK National ethics committee approval, women who had experienced 3 or more consecutive miscarriages were recruited from a nationwide RM clinic. Serum corrected calcium, phosphate, PTH and vitamin D were evaluated. Patients with raised serum calcium and/or PTH were recalled for confirmatory tests. Power calculations suggested that a minimum of 272 patients were required to demonstrate a clinically significant incidence of pHPT.

Results: Three hundred women were recruited, median age 35 years (range 19-42). Eleven patients had incomplete data, leaving 289 patients suitable for analysis; 50/289 patients (17%) with abnormal tests were recalled. The prevalence of vitamin D deficiency (<25 nmol/l) and insufficiency (25-75 nmol/l) was 8.7 and 67.8%, respectively. One patient was diagnosed with pHPT (0.34%) and underwent successful parathyroidectomy.

Conclusions: The prevalence of undiagnosed pHPT (0.34%) in RM in this study appears to be many times greater than the 0.05% expected in this age group. The findings of this pilot study merit follow-up with a larger-scale study. Routine serum calcium estimation is not currently undertaken in RM and should be considered.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Abortion, Habitual / epidemiology*
  • Abortion, Habitual / etiology
  • Adult
  • Calcium / blood
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hyperparathyroidism, Primary / complications
  • Hyperparathyroidism, Primary / diagnosis*
  • Hyperparathyroidism, Primary / epidemiology*
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Parathyroid Hormone / blood
  • Pilot Projects
  • Pregnancy
  • Prevalence
  • Prospective Studies
  • United Kingdom / epidemiology
  • Vitamin D / blood
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / blood
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / epidemiology*
  • Young Adult


  • Parathyroid Hormone
  • Vitamin D
  • Calcium