Improving Intraoperative Parathyroid Hormone Lab Efficiency

Am Surg. 2022 May;88(5):915-921. doi: 10.1177/00031348211054556. Epub 2021 Nov 29.


Background: Intraoperative parathyroid hormone (iPTH) testing is often used to confirm successful removal of hypersecreting parathyroid glands during parathyroidectomy. Unfortunately, the iPTH test can be a time-consuming and highly variable process that occurs while the patient is under anesthesia. We set out to improve iPTH lab efficiency and variability.

Methods: We performed a retrospective review of 85 patients who underwent parathyroidectomy at our institution from October 2017 to October 2019. Each step of the iPTH lab reporting process was recorded and analyzed. Three simulations were performed of the entire process. We then established interventions to modify inefficiencies in the process and studied 21 patients who underwent parathyroidectomy at our institution from November 2019 to March 2020.

Results: Twenty-five minutes of time inherent to the process were identified. Four critical steps were identified as modifiable steps in the process:1. Operating room (OR) blood draw ---> lab receipt.2. Lab receipt ---> placement on centrifuge.3. Removal from centrifuge ---> placement on PTH machine.4. PTH machine result ---> OR verbal report.We improved iPTH lab efficiency by 19%, decreasing the average lab result from 45 to 36 minutes (P = .001). We improved iPTH lab variability by 62%, decreasing the standard deviation from 21 to 8 minutes (P = .001).

Discussion: Utilizing a team-based approach to identify and expedite critical steps in the iPTH lab process can make a significant improvement in iPTH lab efficiency, improving patient care by decreasing total anesthesia time.

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Parathyroid Glands
  • Parathyroid Hormone*
  • Parathyroidectomy*
  • Retrospective Studies


  • Parathyroid Hormone