Primary hyperparathyroidism is a common endocrinopathy. The appropriate management of its mild form, however, remains controversial.
Mild primary hyperparathyroidism is associated with psychological distress and other nonspecific symptoms that improve following parathyroidectomy.
Two-year prospective before-after study.
Twenty-six consecutive patients with mild hypercalcemia (<12 mg/dL [<3 mmol/L]) due to primary hyperparathyroidism, without osteitis fibrosa cystica or urolithiasis were enrolled from January 11, 1997, through April 21, 1998.
Main Outcome Measures
Primary outcome was psychological distress as measured by the 28-item version of the General Health Questionnaire. Secondary outcomes included body weight, joint pain, and occurrences of bowel movements and urination.
Before surgery, 15 patients (58%; 95% confidence interval, 37%-77%) showed psychological distress (case group) while 11 patients did not (noncase group). A clinically and statistically significant reduction in the General Health Questionnaire score was detected at 3 months in the case group (−6.1; 95% confidence interval, −11.0 to −1.2), but the reduction was smaller (−1.9; 95% confidence interval, −6.9 to 3.0) at 24 months after surgery. No significant change in the General Health Questionnaire score was observed in the noncase group during the follow-up. No significant change was noted in any of the secondary outcomes.
Psychological distress was associated with mild primary hyperparathyroidism and was ameliorated after surgery. The improvement, however, was limited in extent and duration.