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Am Surg. 2004 Feb;70(2):175-9; discussion 179-80.

Major depression due to primary hyperparathyroidism: a frequent and correctable disorder.

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University Hospitals of Cleveland, Department of Surgery, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio 44106, USA.


While primary hyperparathyroidism (primary HPT) is recognized as a correctable cause of nephrolithiasis and osteoporosis, its role as an organic cause of major depression is less clear. The rate of major depression in primary HPT, response of symptoms to parathyroidectomy, and potential cost benefits were reviewed. From August 1994 to September 2002, 360 patients underwent parathyroidectomy for primary HPT. Thirty-five patients met Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders IV-Text Revision (DSM IV-TR) criteria for major depression. Postoperatively, a modified form of the Outcomes Institutes Health Status Questionnaire 2.0 was used to evaluate patient mood and continued need for antidepressant medication (ADM). Cost analysis of ADM use was performed. Thirty-five of 360 patients (10%) with primary HPT met criteria for major depression. Thirteen of 35 (37%) required ADM preoperatively. Postoperatively, 29/35 (83%) patients responded to a phone survey: 90 per cent stated depression no longer impacted their ability to work or activities of daily living; 52 per cent reported an improved quality of life; 27 per cent discontinued preoperative ADM; and 27 per cent reduced their ADM dose. Reduction in ADM resulted in a savings of dollars 700 to dollars 3000 per patient per year. Major depression occurs in 10 per cent of patients undergoing parathyroidectomy for primary HPT. Parathyroidectomy reduces symptoms of major depression, improves quality of life, and can eliminate or reduce the need for antidepressant medication in up to 54 per cent of patients.

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