Early biochemical response to parathyroidectomy for primary hyperparathyroidism and its predictive value for recurrent hypercalcemia and recurrent primary hyperparathyroidism

Surgery. 2021 Jan;169(1):120-125. doi: 10.1016/j.surg.2020.05.049. Epub 2020 Aug 5.


Background: The traditional definition of cure after parathyroidectomy (PTX) for primary hyperparathyroidism is normocalcemia. Our hypothesis was that early postoperative levels of serum calcium and parathyroid hormone after PTX would have predictive value for later recurrence.

Methods: We performed a retrospective study of 1,146 patients with primary hyperparathyroidism who underwent PTX and had long-term biochemical follow-up. The first postoperative serum level of calcium and parathyroid hormone values were used to categorize patients into the following four early biochemical response groups: (1) complete response (normal calcium and normal parathyroid hormone), (2) partial response with hyperparathormonemia (normal calcium and increased parathyroid hormone), (3) partial response with hypercalcemia (increased calcium and normal parathyroid hormone), and (4) non-response (increases in both calcium and parathyroid hormone). Incidences of recurrent hypercalcemia and recurrent primary hyperparathyroidism >6 months after operation were then analyzed.

Results: The overall rate of any elevated serum levels of calcium and any increase in serum levels of parathyroid hormone during >6-month follow-up was 9.8% (112 of 1146), with 6.6% (57 of 861) for group 1, 27% (35 of 129) for group 2, and 16% (20 of 127) for group 3 (P < .02). Partial biochemical responses with either increased serum calcium or increased parathyroid hormone levels were the strongest predictors of any episode of increased serum levels of calcium after 6 months and was associated with 2.7× to 4.3× the risk of recurrent primary hyperparathyroidism, respectively.

Conclusion: This study demonstrates the importance of measuring parathyroid hormone in the early postoperative period to better predict later recurrent primary hyperparathyroidism.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Calcium / blood*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Hypercalcemia / blood
  • Hypercalcemia / diagnosis*
  • Hypercalcemia / etiology
  • Hyperparathyroidism, Primary / blood
  • Hyperparathyroidism, Primary / complications
  • Hyperparathyroidism, Primary / diagnosis
  • Hyperparathyroidism, Primary / surgery*
  • Incidence
  • Intraoperative Period
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Parathyroid Glands / pathology
  • Parathyroid Glands / surgery
  • Parathyroid Hormone / blood*
  • Parathyroidectomy*
  • Postoperative Period
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Preoperative Period
  • Recurrence
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Assessment / methods
  • Risk Assessment / statistics & numerical data
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Parathyroid Hormone
  • Calcium