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Parathyroid incidentalomas detected during thyroid ultrasonography and effect of chronic thyroiditis on false positive parathyroid lesions

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We aimed to determine the prevalence of parathyroid incidentalomas in patients referred for thyroid ultrasonography (US) and investigate the role of chronic thyroiditis on false positive lesions. Patients suspected to have parathyroid lesions during thyroid US were recorded prospectively between August 2009 and January 2010. Patients referred for parathyroid US and patients with known high serum calcium or parathyroid hormone (PTH) levels were excluded. Suspected parathyroid lesions were defined as hypoechoic, homogeneous, solid lesions with regular margins located outside the thyroid lobe, most commonly inferior to the thyroid gland. Thyroid US was performed in 6,528 patients. There were 78 patients (1.19 %) (73 female and 5 male) with suspected parathyroid lesion. The diagnosis of a true parathyroid adenoma was confirmed in 6 (7.69 %) patients. In patients with true adenoma, mean serum calcium, phosphorus, and PTH levels were 10.57 ± 0.48 mg/dl, 3.03 ± 0.52 mg/dl, and 182.91 ± 46.62 pg/ml, respectively. Among 72 patients with false positive parathyroid lesion, antithyroid peroxidase antibody was positive in 50 (69.4 %), antithyroglobulin antibody was positive in 46 (63.9 %), and one of these antibodies were positive in 59 (81.9 %) patients. Also, 46 (63.9 %) of these patients had thyroid dysfunctions (43 hypothyroidism and 3 hyperthyroidism) and 59 (81.9 %) had chronic thyroiditis ultrasonographically. Parathyroid incidentaloma was detected in 0.09 % of patients referred for thyroid US. The presence of clinically or ultrasonographically chronic thyroiditis might cause inadvertent interpretation of a hypoechoic lesion as a parathyroid pathology during thyroid US.

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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Correspondence to Didem Ozdemir.

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Ozdemir, D., Arpaci, D., Ucler, R. et al. Parathyroid incidentalomas detected during thyroid ultrasonography and effect of chronic thyroiditis on false positive parathyroid lesions. Endocrine 42, 616–621 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12020-012-9700-5

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  • Parathyroid incidentaloma
  • Chronic thyroiditis
  • Thyroid autoantibodies
  • Lymphadenopathy