Patient Frailty Should Be Used to Individualize Treatment Decisions in Primary Hyperparathyroidism

World J Surg. 2018 Oct;42(10):3215-3222. doi: 10.1007/s00268-018-4629-3.


Background: Primary hyperparathyroidism (PHPT) is a common endocrine disorder that predominantly affects patients >60 and is increasing in prevalence. Identifying risk factors for poor outcomes after parathyroidectomy in older adults will help tailor operative decision making. The impact of frailty on surgical outcomes in parathyroidectomy has not been established.

Methods: We performed a retrospective review of patients ≥40 years who underwent parathyroidectomy in the 2005-2010 ACS NSQIP. Frailty was assessed using the modified frailty index (mFI). Multivariable regression was used to determine the association of frailty with 30-day complications, length of stay (LOS), and reoperation.

Results: We identified 13,123 patients ≥40 who underwent parathyroidectomy for PHPT. The majority of patients were not frail, with 80% with a low NSQIP mFI score (0-1 frailty traits), 19% with an intermediate mFI score (2-3), and 0.9% with a high mFI score (≥4). Overall 30-day complications were rare, occurring in 141 (1.1%) patients. Increasing frailty was associated with an increased risk of complications with adjusted odds ratios (ORs) of 1.76 (95% CI 1.20-2.59; p = 0.004) for intermediate and 8.43 (95% CI 4.33-16.41; p < 0.001) for high mFI score. Patient age was independently associated with an increased risk of complications only when ≥75, as was African-American race. Anesthesia with local, monitored anesthesia care, or regional block was the only factor associated with decreased odds of complications. A high NSQIP mFI was also associated with a significant 4.77-day adjusted increase in LOS (95% CI 4.28-5.25; p < 0.001) and increased odds of reoperation (OR 4.20, 95% CI 1.64-10.74; p = 0.003).

Conclusion: Patient frailty is associated with increased complications, reoperation and prolonged LOS in patients undergoing parathyroidectomy for PHPT. The risks of surgical management should be weighed against potential benefits in frail patients with PHPT to individualize treatment decisions in this vulnerable population.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Female
  • Frailty / complications
  • Frailty / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Hyperparathyroidism, Primary / complications
  • Hyperparathyroidism, Primary / surgery*
  • Hyperparathyroidism, Primary / therapy
  • Length of Stay
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Parathyroidectomy / adverse effects*
  • Postoperative Complications / epidemiology
  • Reoperation
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors