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Pathology and outcome of surgical treatment for lithium-associated hyperparathyroidism

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Background: Hyperparathyroidism associated with long-term lithium therapy is well described. However, few studies have clearly defined the pathological findings or looked at the outcome of surgical treatment.

Methods: The study was a retrospective review of 11 patients with bipolar affective disorder who had surgery for lithium-associated hyperparathyroidism.

Results: Twelve patients were identified who had received lithium therapy, of whom 11 (nine women and two men, aged 46–84 (mean 65) years) had prolonged treatment from 2 to 30 (mean 15ยท3) years. At operation a single adenoma was identified in six patients, whereas multigland disease was seen in five patients. All patients resumed lithium treatment after operation. One patient had recurrent hyperparathyroidism at 3 years, while another had an increased serum level of parathyroid hormone in the presence of a normal serum calcium level after 1 year.

Conclusion: Hyperparathyroidism associated with lithium may be due to either parathyroid hyperplasia or adenoma. Observations in the present study supported a true cause and effect relationship. Routine bilateral neck exploration should be performed because of a relatively high frequency of multigland involvement. However, parathyroid resection should be limited to evident disease.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Endocrine Surgical Unit, University of Sydney, Royal North Shore Hospital, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Publication date: January 1, 1999

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