Sporadic primary hyperparathyroidism (1 HPT) in young persons is thought to be extremely rare. The exact incidence is unknown and little is known of the characteristics of the disease.
From 1976 to 1998, 33 patients aged 19 years or younger underwent operation for sporadic 1 HPT at a single institution. Data were recorded regarding the clinical, surgical, pathologic, and biochemical aspects, as well as long-term patient follow-up.
There were 17 male subjects and 16 female subjects ranging in age from 9 to 19 years (median age, 17 years). Thirty-one (94%) were symptomatic: 14 (42%) had renal stones, 9 (27%) had bone disease, 1 (3%) had pancreatitis, and 7 (21%) had vague nonspecific symptoms alone. The high incidence of symptoms was matched by correspondingly high biochemical values (mean serum calcium level, 3.02 mmol/L [12.1 mg/dL]) and large adenomas (mean weight, 967 mg). Five patients (15%) underwent exploration for persistent/recurrent 1 HPT. Thirty-one patients (94%) were normocalcemic postoperatively. One patient was temporarily hypocalcemic. No patient had vocal cord paralysis or paresis. Two patients developed recurrent disease in the mean follow-up period of 10.3 years. None have shown evidence of an inherited disorder.
It appears that 1 HPT in young patients presents as a more severe disease, in terms of symptoms, biochemistry, and extent of pathologic findings. Physicians should be aware that 1 HPT does occur in young persons in a nonfamilial setting and that it may be responsible for a wide spectrum of symptoms. As in the adult population, 1 HPT is safely and effectively treated with surgical intervention.