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J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2007 May;92(5):1687-92. Epub 2007 Feb 6.

Medical observation, compared with parathyroidectomy, for asymptomatic primary hyperparathyroidism: a prospective, randomized trial.

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Section of Endocrinology, Department of Medicine, Rikshospitalet-Radiumhospitalet Medical Center, National University Hospital, N-0027 Oslo, Norway.



The clinical presentation of primary hyperparathyroidism (pHPT) has changed during the last half century, and the diagnosis is now more often made by chance in patients with no specific symptoms.


The present study is a randomized, controlled trial that investigates the effects of parathyroidectomy or medical observation in mild asymptomatic pHPT on morbidity and quality of life (QoL).


A total of 191 patients (26 men) with asymptomatic pHPT [mean age 64.2 +/- 7.4 (sd) yr] were recruited in the study and randomized to medical observation (serum calcium level 2.69 +/- 0.08 mmol/liter) or surgery (2.70 +/- 0.08 mmol/liter). We here report baseline and 1 (n = 119) and 2 yr data (n = 99) on those who had completed the follow-up visits by the end of the inclusion period.


At baseline, the patients had significantly lower QoL (SF-36) and more psychological symptoms, compared with age- and sex-matched healthy subjects. The two groups were similar at baseline, and no clinically significant changes in these parameters were seen during the observation time. Calcium and PTH normalized after surgery. The areal bone mineral density increased in the group randomized to operation, whereas the bone mineral density remained stable in the medical observation group. No change in kidney function (creatinine) or blood pressure was observed longitudinally or between the groups.


Asymptomatic patients with mild pHPT have decreased QoL and more psychological symptoms than normal controls. No benefit of operative treatment, compared with medical observation, was found on these measures so far.

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