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A Journal on Endocrine System Diseases


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Minerva Endocrinologica 2002 September;27(3):215-24

language: Italian

Post-thyroidectomy hypocalcemia. Personal experience

De Falco M., Parmeggiani D., Giudicianni C., Lanna A., Miranda A., Oliva G., Parmeggiani U.


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Background. The study evaluates the incidence of both early and protracted post-thyroidectomy hypocalcemia over a 6-year period (1995-2000) in a series of 330 consecutive thryoid operations. The aim was to identify the profile of patients with the greatest risk of permanent parathyroid functional insufficiency and a suitable treatment protocol.
Methods. Having performed a statistical ana-lysis of all the variables, we divided the entire population of 330 patients into 4 groups based on the extent of demolition, the method of organotherapeutic replacement with L-Thyroxine and the (eco-radioguided) procedure used to identify the parathyroids: 59 patients undergoing subtotal thyroidectomy; 155 patients undergoing total thyroidectomy who commenced replacement organotherapy from postoperative day 15-30; 94 patients undergoing total thyroidectomy who commenced replacement organotherapy from postoperative day 1; 22 patients undergoing total thyroidectomy who underwent routine intraoperative parathyroid assay.
Results. The results show that the impact of more radical surgery in determining hypocalcemia, in particular protracted hypocalcemia, represents the most striking characteristic of patients with the greatest probability of permanent parathyroid insufficiency. We emphasise that early correction of postoperative hypothyroidism can drastically reduce the incidence of both early and protracted hypocalcemia.
Conclusions. In conclusion, hypoparathyroidism is an exceptional event, whereas hypocalcemia is relatively common after total thyroidectomy. The effects of the early correction of postoperative hypothyroidism are undoubtedly beneficial, as is the use of eco- and radioguided methods for the intraoperative identification of the parathyroid glands, although they are not free from limits and criticism.

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