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J Pediatr Surg. 1986 Jun;21(6):493-9.

Primary hyperparathyroidism in infancy.


Primary hyperparathyroidism in the neonate is a rare and often fatal disorder. These infants typically display severe hypercalcemia, respiratory distress, muscular hypotonia, and skeletal demineralization. They are usually diagnosed within the first three months of life and have hyperplasia of the four parathyroid glands. Twenty-nine infants with primary hyperparathyroidism are reported in the literature. Mortality is 87.5% in medically managed patients and 24% in surgically managed patients. Surgical management has not been satisfactory, in that recurrent hypercalcemia has been encountered in most patients undergoing subtotal parathyroidectomy, and total parathyroidectomy has resulted in the need for lifelong calcium and vitamin D supplementation. We have recently cared for a term newborn female in whom the diagnosis of primary hyperparathyroidism was made clinically on the second day of life, and later was confirmed biochemically. The baby underwent neck exploration on the 11th day of life and was successfully treated with total parathyroidectomy and parathyroid autotransplantation. Although initially rendered eucalcemic, the infant subsequently developed recurrent hypercalcemia requiring the removal of some of the autograft. Currently, the child is more than 2 years following surgery, growing well, and off all medication. The world literature is reviewed in this report of one of the first and the youngest infants, to our knowledge, to undergo parathyroid autotransplantation. In view of its success in avoiding the complication of repeated neck exploration for recurrent hyperparathyroidism or the creation of permanent hypoparathyroidism, we recommend this surgical approach for the rare neonate with primary hyperparathyroidism.

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