Parathyroid surgical failures with misleading falls of intraoperative parathyroid hormone levels

János Horányi, L. Duffek, R. Szlávik, K. Darvas, P. Lakatos, M. Tóth, K. Rácz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

16 Citations (Scopus)


According to earlier reports, a decrease below 50% of baseline of intraoperative PTH levels measured 5 min after resection of the parathyroid adenoma predicts a cure of hyperparathyroidism. To reveal previously unrecognized pitfalls of intraoperative PTH measurements, we reviewed surgical failures in our series of parathyroidectomies combined with intraoperative PTH sampling. PTH measurements were performed in 251 patients with primary hyperparathyroidism (PHPT) between November 1999 and December 2002. PHPT due to parathyroid hyperplasia were found in 8 cases, double parathyroid adenomas in 6 cases, parathyroid carcinoma in 1 case and single parathyroid adenomas in 236 cases, all confirmed by histological examination. Of the 236 cases of single adenomas, initial surgery failed to cure PHPT in 4 patients. In 3 patients a false-positive decrease of intraoperative PTH (from 269 to 40 pg/ml, from 211 to 27 pg/ml, and from 140 to 59 pg/ml) was observed, whereas in the fourth patient a true-negative decrease of intraoperative PTH (from 758 to 401 pg/ml) was mistakenly interpreted as indication for a cure of PHPT. In each of the 4 patients in whom initial surgery failed the intervention included thyroid surgery and reoperative parathyroid surgery resulted in a permanent cure of PHPT. These observations support the possibility that thyroid surgery may compromise the blood supply of parathyroid adenomas resulting in a misleading drop of intraoperative PTH levels. Therefore, a careful evaluation of intraoperative PTH levels and, perhaps, other intraoperative aids such as histological evaluation of frozen sections are recommended when parathyroid surgery is combined with simultaneous thyroid intervention.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1095-1099
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of endocrinological investigation
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2003


  • Intraoperative PTH
  • Parathyroid hormone
  • Parathyroid surgery
  • Primary hyperparathyroidism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Parathyroid surgical failures with misleading falls of intraoperative parathyroid hormone levels'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this