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Clin Chem. 2004 Jul;50(7):1126-35. Epub 2004 Apr 29.

Rapid intraoperative immunoassay of parathyroid hormone and other hormones: a new paradigm for point-of-care testing.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, Baltimore, MD 21287, USA.



The first description of the use of a rapid assay for the measurement of intact parathyroid hormone (PTH) in patients undergoing parathyroidectomy for hyperparathyroidism was reported in 1988. Subsequent improvements in the analytical performance of the rapid intraoperative PTH assay allowed the establishment of its clinical utility in the surgical management of hyperparathyroidism. These modifications also allowed the assay to be performed in or near the operating suite.


We searched MEDLINE, using the following key words: intraoperative, rapid, quick, parathyroid hormone, hormone, and immunoassay. Relevant articles that focused on the analytical aspects and clinical utility of rapid intraoperative hormone immunoassays were selected for this review.


On the basis of the positive impact that the rapid intraoperative PTH test has had on both patient outcomes and cost savings, other rapid intraoperative hormone immunoassays for the diagnosis and/or treatment of other endocrine-hormone-secreting tumors have been developed. These hormones share certain characteristics that make them suitable for use as rapid intraoperative tests, i.e., short analyte half-life and/or large analyte concentration gradient, rapid analysis time, and positive clinical utility. Initial studies with cortisol, gastrin, insulin, adrenocorticotropic hormone, and testosterone have shown promising results in preoperative localization studies and/or for assessing the effectiveness of tumor resection during surgery.


The emergence of these rapid intraoperative immunoassays indicates that this test format is likely to provide future opportunities to improve patient care by advances in clinical laboratory testing.

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