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Case Rep Endocrinol. 2012;2012:931371. doi: 10.1155/2012/931371. Epub 2012 Nov 25.

Posterior fossa arachnoid cyst masking a delayed diagnosis of hyperparathyroidism in a child.

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  • 1Department of Neurosurgery, Birmingham Children's Hospital, Steelhouse Lane, Birmingham B4 6NH, UK.


Background. Primary hyperparathyroidism in childhood is a very rare entity, often being diagnosed late after the onset of its presenting symptoms. It most commonly affects patients in their fourth decade of life and beyond. The inclusion of primary hyperparathyroidism in the differential diagnosis is necessary when evaluating patients presenting with nonspecific symptoms such as polyuria, fatigue, weight loss, abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting. Methods. We report the case of an eleven-year-old girl presenting with three years history of headaches, visual disturbance, along with episodes of emotional lability. Neuroimaging confirmed a large posterior fossa arachnoid cyst. It was decided to manage this lesion conservatively with surveillance. Only after further hospital admissions with recurrent loss of consciousness, dizziness, and nausea to add to her already existing symptoms, a full biochemical and endocrine assessment was performed to look for more specific causes for her presentation. These pointed to a diagnosis of primary hyperparathyroidism. Conclusions. The inclusion of primary hyperparathyroidism in the differential diagnosis should be considered when evaluating paediatric patients presenting with nonspecific (neurological, gastrointestinal, and renal) symptoms in order to establish a prompt diagnosis of the disorder and to avoid severe complications of prolonged hypercalcaemia and end-organ damage.

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