Long-Term Changes in Parathyroid Function After Subtotal Thyroidectomy for Graves’ Disease

Ito Hospital, 4-3-6 Jinngumae, Shibuya, Tokyo, 150-8308, Japan.
World Journal of Surgery (Impact Factor: 2.35). 11/2008; 32(12):2612-6. DOI: 10.1007/s00268-008-9754-y
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Transient hypocalcemia is one of the postoperative complications of thyroidectomy for Graves' disease, and perioperative parathyroid hormone (PTH) assays are used to predict postoperative hypocalcemia. We evaluated long-term changes in parathyroid function after surgery for Graves' disease.
Serum PTH values were measured in Graves' patients with postoperative hypocalcemia, and those patients were followed postoperatively.
Subtotal thyroidectomy was performed in 275 patients with Graves' disease. Their serum calcium levels were measured on postoperative day (POD) 1, and patients with transient postoperative hypocalcemia were treated with calcium and vitamin D supplementation and followed up. The amount of calcium and vitamin D supplementation was adjusted to keep the patient's serum calcium level within the normal range. Measurement of their serum intact PTH value on POD 1 revealed normal value in 18 patients, a below normal level in 22, and an above normal level in the other 2. During the follow-up period, the serum iPTH values remained normal in 12 patients, recovered to the normal level in 21 patients, and rose above the normal range in 9 patients. The serum iPTH values of all patients eventually reached the normal range during the follow-up period. A marked difference in preoperative serum alkaline phosphatase concentration was observed between the high-iPTH patients and the normocalcemic patients.
The phenomenon of an elevated serum PTH level after surgery for Graves' disease was observed in 21% of the patients with postoperative hypocalcemia despite the achievement of normal serum calcium levels by calcium and vitamin D supplementation.

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    ABSTRACT: Parathyroid hormone (PTH) deficiency or hypoparathyroidism after total thyroidectomy is not an uncommon postoperative complication. Patients who have PTH deficiency will develop profound hypocalcemia if not properly treated with oral calcium supplementation and activated vitamin D (1,25-dihydroxycholecalciferol or calcitriol). However, there is little published on the long-term outcomes of these patients. The aim of this study was to determine the incidence of PTH deficiency and the time course to resolution after total thyroidectomy. We identified 271 consecutive patients who underwent total thyroidectomy from January 2006 to December 2008. All patients had serum PTH levels tested 4 h after surgery and the morning after surgery. Patients were diagnosed with PTH deficiency if their serum PTH was <10 pg/mL. The outcomes of patients with PTH deficiency (group 1) were then compared with patients who did not have PTH deficiency (group 2). Patients in group 1 were evaluated for parathyroid function by measuring serum PTH levels as well as documenting usage of supplemental calcium and 1,25-dihydroxycholecalciferol. Of the 271 patients, 33 (12%) were found to have PTH deficiency. In comparing PTH deficient patients (group 1) with patients in group 2, there were no differences in age, gender, thyroid pathology, the incidence of thyroiditis, or other factors that would predict hypoparathyroidism. Twenty-four patients (73%) had recovery of their PTH levels to > or =10 pg/mL at their 1 wk follow-up appointment, while 9 (27%) patients still had PTH levels <10 pg/mL. With long term follow-up, 27 (82%) patients had recovered with a PTH level of > or = 10 pg/mL, while 6 (18%) patients had a serum PTH level <10 pg/mL. However, three of the 33 patients in group 1 (9%) required long-term 1,25-dihydroxycholecalciferol, but only two of these patients had undetectable PTH levels. Thus, the overall rate of hypocalemia requiring 1,25-dihydroxycholecalciferol was <1% (two of 271 total patients). We concluded that approximately 12% (33 of 271) of patients undergoing total thyroidectomy will develop PTH deficiency. Of the PTH deficient patients, 73% will return to normal parathyroid function within 1 wk of surgery. Furthermore, 82% of these PTH deficient patients will return to normal parathyroid function with long-term follow-up. Less than 1% (two of 271) of patients undergoing total thyroidectomy will require 1,25-dihydroxycholecalciferol for long-term hypocalcemia.
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    ABSTRACT: A retrospective analysis was performed on 267 consecutive patients with Graves' disease (GD). The principal aim of this study was to evaluate the risk for recurrence and complications when changing the surgical method from subtotal (ST) to total thyroidectomy (TT). Information from 267 consecutive patients operated on for GD between 2000 and 2006 was collected at Uppsala University Hospital (143) and Falun County Hospital (128). There were 229 women and 38 men. Four patients were operated on twice. A total of 40 STs and 229 TTs were performed. Results were compared to those of a previous cohort from the same hospital, with a majority of STs (157/176) performed from 1980 to 1992. The risk for relapse of GD was reduced from 20 to 3.3 % after the shift from ST to TT. In terms of surgical complications, 2.2 % demonstrated permanent vocal cord paralysis and 4.5 % had persistent hypocalcemia, not significant when compared to the previous cohort. In spite of TT, there were four recurrences, all due to remnant thyroid tissue high up at the hyoid bone. Changing the surgical method did not affect postoperative progression of dysthyroid ophthalmopathy (DO, 7.0 vs. 7.5 %). There were no differences in outcome with respect to which hospital the patients had their operation. Change from ST to TT dramatically reduced the risk for recurrence of GD without increasing the rate of complications. TT is not more effective than ST in hampering progression of DO as has been advocated by some. Careful surgical dissection up to the hyoid bone is necessary to avoid recurrence.
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    ABSTRACT: Background: Transient hypocalcemia is one of the postoperative complications of thyroidectomy for thyroid nodules, and intraoperative and postoperative intact parathyroid hormone (iPTH) assays are used to predict postoperative hypocalcemia. Objectives: The current study was conducted to evaluate a single serum iPTH measurement on postoperative day 1 (POD 1) as a means to predict hypocalcemia occurrence after total thyroidectomy (TT). Patients and Methods: The subjects consisted of 36 patients who underwent TT and 260 patients who underwent TT plus lymph node (LN) dissection for thyroid nodules treatment. The TT performance procedure to prevent postoperative hypoparathyroidism combines parathyroid gland preservation in situ with autotransplantation of resected or devascularized parathyroid glands. The patients’ serum iPTH level was measured on POD 1, and their serum calcium level was measured on POD 1 and on POD 3 while they were still inpatients. The serum iPTH level was subequently measured at each outpatient clinic visit until it recovered to the normal range. Results: Hypoparathyroidism after TT and TT plus LN dissection was ultimately diagnosed in a total of 229 patients, and in 69 of them hypocalcemia was diagnosed on POD 1. All of the 69 patients diagnosed with hypocalcemia received calcium and vitamin D supplementation therapy. The serum iPTH level of 67 of 229 patients was within normal range on POD 1, and four of them developed hypocalcemia on POD 1. Permanent hypoparathyroidism developed in 37 of 296 patients after undergoing TT or TT plus LN dissection for thyroid nodules in the hospital. Conclusions: A single serum iPTH measurement on POD 1 is useful to determine whether or not to start calcium and vitamin D supplementation in order to maintain normocalcemia after surgery.
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