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Diagnosis of primary hyperparathyroidism: controversies, practical issues and the need for Australian guidelines

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Primary hyperparathyroidism (PHPT) is one of the most common endocrine disease processes, however the clinical presentation in 2003 is typically characterized by minimal signs or symptoms of hypercalcaemia or para­thyroid hormone (PTH) excess. Recent developments in imaging and management of PHPT have been published, however the area of biochemical investigation has been relatively neglected. A group of experts convened in April 2002 to consider whether changes were needed to the 1990 consensus guidelines which defined criteria for the diagnosis and management of asymptomatic PHPT. It is appropriate to review the revised recommendations, which have been disseminated by the panel and were recently published. Each of the laboratory ­analytes used to establish the diagnosis of PHPT and exclude alternative diagnoses or complications will be considered in succession in this review: (i) calcium, (ii) intact PTH, (iii) urinary calcium and (iv) 25 hydroxy­vitamin D. Furthermore, critical appraisal of the new diagnostic criteria and their applicability to Australian laboratories will be addressed. Finally, limitations and problems associated with the measurement of each analyte will be reviewed. (Intern Med J 2003; 33: 598−603)

Keywords: diagnostic criteria; primary hyperparathyroidism; vitamin D deficiency

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Core Clinical Pathology and Biochemistry, Royal Perth Hospital, Perth, Western Australia, Australia

Publication date: December 1, 2003


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