A nomogram to predict the likelihood of permanent hypoparathyroidism after total thyroidectomy based on delayed serum calcium and iPTH measurements

Antonio Sitges-Serra, Joaquín Gómez, Marcin Barczynski, Leyre Lorente-Poch, Maurizio Iacobone, Juan Sancho


Background: Retrospective studies have shown that delayed high-normal serum calcium and detectable iPTH are independent variables positively influencing outcome of prolonged parathyroid failure after total thyroidectomy (TT). The aim of the present study was to examine prospectively the ability of these two variables to predict permanent hypoparathyroidism in patients under replacement therapy for postoperative hypocalcemia.
Methods: Prospective observational multicenter study of patients undergoing TT followed by postoperative parathyroid failure (serum calcium <8 mg/dL within 24 h and PTH <15 pg/mL 4 h after surgery). Serum calcium, vitamin D and iPTH were determined before thyroidectomy, 24 h after surgery, at 1 month and then periodically until recovery of the parathyroid function or permanent hypoparathyroidism was diagnosed after at least 1 year follow-up.
Results: Some 145 patients with postoperative hypocalcemia were investigated [s-Ca24h 7.5 (0.5) mg/dL]. Hypocalcemia recovered within 30 days in 91 (63%) patients and 54 (37%) developed protracted hypoparathyroidism {iPTH 5.8 [4] pg/mL at 1 month}, of whom 32 recovered within 1 year and 22 developed permanent hypoparathyroidism. Protracted hypoparathyroidism was related to few parathyroid glands remaining in situ (PGRIS). Serum calcium concentration (mg/dL) at 1 postoperative month correlated positively with the rate of recovery (percent) from protracted hypoparathyroidism: <8.5 (20%); 8.5–9 (29%); 9.1–9.5 (70%); 9.6–10 (89%); >10 (83%) (P=0.013). Serum iPTH at 1 month was also higher (7.3 vs. 3.7 pg/mL; P=0.002) in recovered protracted hypoparathyroidism. The combination of both variables predicts the likelihood of recovery of the parathyroid function with >90% accuracy.
Conclusions: High-normal serum calcium and low but detectable iPTH concentrations at 1 month after TT were associated with better outcome of protracted hypoparathyroidism. A nomogram combining both variables may guide medical treatment and monitoring of post-thyroidectomy prolonged hypoparathyroidism.