Minimal Benefit to Subsequent Intraoperative Parathyroid Hormone Testing After All Four Glands Have Been Identified
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Modern tools, such as intraoperative parathyroid hormone (IoPTH) assay, reduce operative time and extent of parathyroidectomy. However, the utility of a subsequent final set of IoPTH after all four glands are visualized remains questionable. This study was designed to determine the added value of IoPTH assay following parathyroidectomy with four-gland visualization in patients with primary hyperparathyroidism (PHPT).
A retrospective review of patients who underwent parathyroidectomy for PHPT between July 2001 and February 2012 by two experienced endocrine surgeons was performed. Included were patients with operative reports indicating that all four parathyroid glands were identified. Following four-gland visualization a subsequent final set of IoPTH was measured to confirm cure. Cure was defined as at least 50 % fall by 5, 10, or 15 min postexcision compared with preincision levels.
Of 1,838 patients that underwent parathyroidectomy, four glands were visualized in 238 cases (13 %). Of those patients meeting inclusion criteria with four glands visualized, the final set of IoPTH fell to cure criteria in 235 patients (98 %). An inadequate drop was documented in three (2 %) patients all of which were found to have multigland disease. Only in one patient (0.4 %) was a fifth parathyroid gland identified and resected. In all three cases, the subsequent final IoPTH did not affect the ultimate outcome or cure rate.
When experienced surgeons visualize all four parathyroid glands, drawing a subsequent final set of IoPTH rarely changes the operative course and therefore serves a limited role.