Use and disparities in parathyroidectomy for symptomatic primary hyperparathyroidism in the Medicare population

Surgery. 2021 Nov;170(5):1376-1382. doi: 10.1016/j.surg.2021.05.026. Epub 2021 Jun 12.


Background: Few studies assess use of parathyroidectomy among older adults with symptomatic primary hyperparathyroidism. Our objective was to determine national usage and disparities in parathyroidectomy for symptomatic primary hyperparathyroidism among insured older adults.

Methods: We identified older adult patients with symptomatic primary hyperparathyroidism using Medicare claims (2006-2017). Primary study variables were race/ethnicity, rurality, and zip-code socioeconomic status. We calculated cumulative incidence of parathyroidectomy and used multivariable Cox proportional hazards regression models to assess the adjusted association of our study variables with parathyroidectomy.

Results: We included 94,803 patients. The median age at primary hyperparathyroidism diagnosis was 76 years (interquartile range 71-82). The majority of patients were female (72%), non-Hispanic White (82%), from metropolitan areas (82%), and had a Charlson Comorbidity score ≥3 (62%). Nine percent of patients (n = 8,251) underwent parathyroidectomy during follow-up. After adjustment, non-Hispanic Black patients, compared to non-Hispanic White (hazard ratio 0.80; 95% confidence interval 0.74, 0.87), and living in a low socioeconomic status neighborhood (low socioeconomic status vs highest socioeconomic status hazard ratio 0.89; 95% confidence interval 0.83, 0.95) were both associated with lower incidences of parathyroidectomy. Patients from non-metropolitan areas were more likely to undergo parathyroidectomy.

Conclusion: Parathyroidectomy is underused for symptomatic primary hyperparathyroidism in older adults. Quality improvement efforts, rooted in equitable care, should be undertaken to increase access to parathyroidectomy for this disease.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cohort Studies
  • Ethnicity*
  • Female
  • Healthcare Disparities / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Hyperparathyroidism, Primary / ethnology
  • Hyperparathyroidism, Primary / surgery*
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Medicare / economics*
  • Parathyroidectomy / statistics & numerical data*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Social Class
  • United States / epidemiology