Background: Primary hyperparathyroidism arising from parathyroid adenoma is one of the most common endocrine disorders treated by endocrine surgeons. The adenoma is commonly identified by imaging techniques. The present study evaluated the performance of a portable ultrasound machine (Sonosite MicroMaxx) operated by a surgeon, departmental ultrasound and 99mTc-sestamibi-SPECT/CT by a radiologist in the identification of parathyroid adenomas.
Methods: Patient case notes were retrieved from medical records and imaging from picture archiving and communication system over the period from 2006 to 2012. 99mTc-sestamibi-SPECT/CT and departmental ultrasound images were reported by a nuclear radiologist. The ability of each imaging technique in localising parathyroid adenomas was referenced against the actual adenomas identified from parathyroidectomy.
Results: With reference to the actual site of the lesion, surgeon-performed ultrasound accurately localised the site of the lesion in 30/33 (90.1%) of cases with a sensitivity of 86.7%, departmental ultrasound accurately localised the site of the lesion in 21/26 (80.1%) of cases with a sensitivity of 79.2%. In 6/75 patients where 99mTc-sestamibi-SPECT/CT did not localise the lesion, departmental ultrasound did not localise any lesions correctly, while surgeon-performed ultrasound successfully located the adenoma in three (50%) of these six patients. Patients whose parathyroid adenomas identified by the surgeon were more likely to have shorter length of stay in hospital: odds ratio = 0.53 (95% confidence interval = 0.30-0.92, p = 0.025).
Conclusions: Surgeon-performed ultrasound for immediately pre-operative localisation improves identification of parathyroid adenomas and reduces length of stay in hospital, lending support for the use of this technique by endocrine surgeons.
Keywords: 99mTc-sestamibi-SPECT/CT; Primary hyperparathyroidism; hypercalcaemia; radiography.