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BMJ. 2003 Sep 6;327(7414):530-4.

Cohort study on effects of parathyroid surgery on multiple outcomes in primary hyperparathyroidism.

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  • 1Department of Endocrinology and Metabolism C, Aarhus Amtssygehus, Aarhus University Hospital, Aarhus, Denmark.



To assess the effects of surgery compared with conservative treatment (no surgery) for primary hyperparathyroidism.


Cohort study.


Nationwide Danish cohort.


3213 patients, mean age 61 (SD 16) years, with a diagnosis of primary hyperparathyroidism between 1980 and 1999. 1934 (60%) underwent surgery and 1279 (40%) were treated conservatively.


Occurrence of fractures, osteoporosis, kidney or urinary tract stones, acute myocardial infarction, angina pectoris, cardiac arrhythmias, arterial hypertension, heart failure, stroke, acute pancreatitis, stomach or duodenal ulcers, muscle pain, malignant diseases, psychiatric disorders, and mortality.


At diagnosis of primary hyperparathyroidism, patients who subsequently underwent surgery had a lower prevalence of previous fracture (odds ratio 0.64, 95% confidence interval 0.51 to 0.80), acute myocardial infarction (0.59, 0.42 to 0.83), stroke (0.57, 0.37 to 0.88), psychiatric disorders (0.54, 0.31 to 0.94), and painful muscle disorders (0.44, 0.26 to 0.76), whereas kidney stones (2.49, 1.93 to 3.23) and acute pancreatitis (2.77, 1.33 to 5.76) were more prevalent. After diagnosis, the risks of fractures (hazards ratio 0.69, 0.56 to 0.84) and gastric ulcers (0.59, 0.41 to 0.84) were lower in patients treated surgically than those treated conservatively. Events involving kidney or urinary tact stones were more prevalent in patients treated surgically than patients treated conservatively (1.87, 1.30 to 2.68). Mortality was lower in patients treated surgically (0.65, 0.57 to 0.73).


Patients treated surgically for primary hyperparathyroidism have a lower prevalence of fractures and gastric ulcers than patients treated conservatively. The type of treatment had no effect on the occurrence of cardiovascular events.

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