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Head Neck. 2006 Nov;28(11):990-7.

Intraoperative parathyroid hormone assay for management of patients undergoing total thyroidectomy.

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Department of Otolaryngology, Asan Medical Center, University of Ulsan College of Medicine, 388-1, Pungnap-dong, Songpa-gu, Seoul 138-736, Korea.



Rapid parathyroid hormone (PTH) assay has been applied to predict hypocalcemia after thyroidectomy compared with conventional close monitoring of serum calcium levels. We evaluated the reliability of intraoperative intact PTH (ioPTH) assay to predict hypocalcemia after total thyroidectomy and sought to develop an algorithm for the management of postthyroidectomy patients.


Rapid PTH assays were performed before and after thyroidectomy for 92 new patients receiving total thyroidectomy. Preoperative and postoperative serum calcium and standard PTH levels were serially obtained to 6 months after surgery


Postoperative hypocalcemia developed in 34 of 92 patients (37%), who showed significantly lower ioPTH values compared with those of normocalcemic patients (mean 9.2 pg/mL vs 31.3 pg/mL). The ioPTH levels were significantly correlated with standard PTH levels (p < .001, r > 0.62), but not with early serum calcium levels within 8 hours after the operation. Sensitivity and specificity of ioPTH levels of <15.0 pg/mL for the prediction of postoperative hypocalcemia were 85% and 84%, respectively. A value of >15.0 pg/mL and <70% decline in ioPTH after thyroidectomy can reliably identify normocalcemic patients during thyroidectomy or patients requiring close monitoring and early calcium supplement


Rapid ioPTH assay can reliably monitor parathyroid function after thyroidectomy and predict postoperative hypocalcemia. The proposed algorithm based on rapid PTH levels will lead to improved prediction of normocalcemic patients.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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