Background During parathyroidectomy with intraoperative parathyroid hormone monitoring, the successful removal of a hypersecreting gland(s) resulting in normocalcemia is indicated by a >50% decrease in intraoperative parathyroid hormone level, typically into the normal range. Some patients, however, will have baseline parathyroid hormone levels within the normal range. We sought to determine the utility of intraoperative parathyroid hormone testing in these patients. Methods We retrospectively studied all patients who underwent parathyroidectomy for primary hyperparathyroidism at our institution over a 10-year period. Results Overall, 317 (17%) patients had parathyroid hormone within the normal range at the onset of operation (baseline intraoperative parathyroid hormone), and 1,544 (83%) had classic primary hyperparathyroidism. The intraoperative parathyroid hormone degradation was slower in normal baseline intraoperative parathyroid hormone patients than classic primary hyperparathyroidism patients, though this did not reach statistical significance (P <.254). A >50% intraoperative parathyroid hormone decrease predicted cure in 98.7% of normal baseline patients and 98.8% of classic primary hyperparathyroidism patients (P = .810). Normal baseline patients had a lesser cure rate the longer it took to achieve a 50% decrease intraoperatively; however, the cure rate was constant at any time point the 50% decrease occurred in patients with classic primary hyperparathyroidism (P < .05). Conclusion The 50% rule delineating operative cure can be applied with equal confidence to patients with normal range, baseline intraoperative parathyroid hormone. Moreover, the time at which the 50% drop is achieved impacts operative success rates in these patients.
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