, Volume 23, Issue 2, pp 179-184,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 28 Nov 2007

What parathyroid hormone levels should we aim for in children with stage 5 chronic kidney disease; what is the evidence?


The bone disease that occurs as a result of chronic kidney disease (CKD) is not only debilitating but also linked to poor growth and cardiovascular disease. It is suspected that abnormal bone turnover is the main culprit for these poor outcomes. Plasma parathyroid hormone (PTH) levels are used as a surrogate marker of bone turnover, and there is a small number of studies in children that have attempted to identify the range of PTH levels that correlates with normal bone histology. It is clear that high PTH levels are associated with high bone turnover, although the range is wide. However, the ability of PTH levels to distinguish between low and normal bone turnover is less clear. This is an important issue, because current guidelines for calcium and phosphate management are based upon there being an “optimum” range for PTH. This editorial takes a critical look at the evidence upon which these recommendations are based.