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Clin Endocrinol (Oxf). 1980 Mar;12(3):225-35.

Primary hyperparathyroidism with intermittent hypercalcaemia: serial observations and simple diagnosis by means of an oral calcium tolerance test.


Ten patients with subtle primary hyperparathyroidism and intermittent hypercalcaemia were followed serially for periods of 2--18 months (mean 10 months). Fasting serum calcium was elevated (greater than 10.6 mg/dl) in only 20% of determinations and fluctuated widely (9.1--11.2 mg/dl), yet the patients displayed a continuous, rather than episodic, basic disease process as defined by increases in nephrogenous cyclic AMP and serum iPTH. Identical findings were noted in short-term (2--3 successive days) studies in twelve patients. In response to a 1000 mg oral calcium tolerance test, twelve patients with primary hyperparathyroidism and intermittent hypercalcaemia (basal serum calcium 10.2 +/- 0.2 mg/dl, mean +/- SD) displayed: (1) hyperabsorption of calcium (mean calciuric response twice normal); (2) induced-hypercalcaemia (mean serum calcium 11.4 mg/dl, with a mean increase of 1.2 mg/dl versus 0.2 mg/cl in normal subjects); and (3) abnormal parathyroid suppressibility (nephrogenous cyclic AMP 2.66 +/- 0.57 nmol/100 ml GF versus 0.95 +/- 0.40 nmol/100 ml GF in normal subjects, mean +/- SD). The patients demonstrated striking hypercalciuria (452 +/- 123 mg/24 h) on a 1000 mg metabolic calcium diet. Serum levels of 1,25(OH)2D3, measured in ten patients, were markedly elevated at 90 +/- 20 pg/ml (mean +/- SD), and there was a strong positive correlation between the values for 1,25(OH)2D3 and the calciuric response to the calcium tolerance test (r = 0.75, P less than 0.001). These results (1) indicate that the calcium tolerance test is a simple and reliable technique for diagnosis of patients with primary hyperparathyroidism and intermittent hypercalcaemia, and (2) emphasize the important pathophysiologic features of this subtle clinical variant of primary hyperparathyroidism.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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