Role of postoperative intact serum PTH as an early predictor of severe post-thyroidectomy hypocalcemia: a prospective study

Abstract

Background

Post thyroidectomy hypocalcemia is a major sequel of thyroidectomy and continues to trouble the endocrinologists and the endocrine surgeons as there is no ideal predictive marker of hypocalcemia which has the potential to develop into a life-threatening complication. The role of early serum intact parathormone (iPTH) to predict post thyroidectomy hypocalcemia is becoming useful but the literature is still unclear regarding the optimal time of testing and the optimal cut-off value of serum iPTH.

Patients and methods

This is a prospective cohort study of 111 patients who underwent total thyroidectomy in a tertiary care endocrine surgery referral unit. Serum iPTH was measured after 20 min and 4 h of surgery. Receiver-Operator characteristic Curve (ROC) was used to find out of the best cut-off value of S. iPTH 20 min and 4 h after surgery in predicting hypocalcemia.

Results

Hypocalcemia was noted in 60 (54%) out of 111 subjects who underwent total thyroidectomy. The best cut-off values of Serum iPTH to predict hypocalcemia was found to be 4.28 pmol/l at 20 min post total thyroidectomy with a sensitivity and specificity of 81.7% and 51%, respectively. In addition, patients with malignancy or central lymph nodal dissection were significantly over-represented in the hypocalcemia group with serum iPTH above the threshold level of 4.28 pmol/l. Below the cut off level, parenteral calcium supplementation was required in 23% (17/74) subjects while the rate was only 5.4% (2/37) patients when serum iPTH was above the cut-off level.

Conclusions

The decline of serum iPTH below a specific level after surgery has predictive value together with other factors strictly related to patient, the thyroid disease itself and surgery. The risk of development of hypocalcemia and consequent need for calcium supplementation should be evaluated by clinical assessment along with serum PTH measurement.

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Availability of data and material

The datasets generated during and/or analysed during the current study are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.

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Correspondence to A. Agarwal.

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The study was approved by the Institutional Ethical Committee of Sanjay Gandhi Postgraduate Institute of Medical Sciences (SGPGI), Lucknow, India (IEC Code: 2018–25-MCh_EXP).

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Mattoo, S., Agarwal, A., Mayilvaganan, S. et al. Role of postoperative intact serum PTH as an early predictor of severe post-thyroidectomy hypocalcemia: a prospective study. J Endocrinol Invest (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40618-021-01511-w

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Keywords

  • Intact PTH
  • Thyroidectomy
  • Hypocalcemia