A Practical Approach to Hypercalcemia - Article

ABSTRACT: Hypercalcemia is a disorder commonly encountered by primary care physicians. The diagnosis often is made incidentally in asymptomatic patients. Clinical manifestations affect the neuromuscular, gastrointestinal, renal, skeletal, and cardiovascular systems. The most common causes of hypercalcemia are primary hyperparathyroidism and malignancy. Some other important causes of hypercalcemia are medications and familial hypocalciuric hypercalcemia. An initial diagnostic work-up should include measurement of intact parathyroid hormone, and any medications that are likely to be causative should be discontinued. Parathyroid hormone is suppressed in malignancy-associated hypercalcemia and elevated in primary hyperparathyroidism. It is essential to exclude other causes before considering parathyroid surgery, and patients should be referred for parathyroidectomy only if they meet certain criteria. Many patients with primary hyperparathyroidism have a benign course and do not need surgery. Hypercalcemic crisis is a life-threatening emergency. Aggressive intravenous rehydration is the mainstay of management in severe hypercalcemia, and antiresorptive agents, such as calcitonin and bisphosphonates, frequently can alleviate the clinical manifestations of hypercalcemic disorders.

Hyperparathyroidism - Article

ABSTRACT: Primary hyperparathyroidism is the most frequent cause of hypercalcemia in ambulatory patients. The condition is most common in postmenopausal women, although it can occur in persons of all ages, including pregnant women. If symptoms are present, they are attributable to hypercalcemia and may include weakness, easy fatigability, anorexia, or anxiety. However, most persons have no symptoms, and primary hyperparathyroidism usually is diagnosed after an elevated serum calcium level is found incidentally on multiphasic chemistry panel testing. Persistent hypercalcemia and an elevated serum parathyroid hormone level are the diagnostic criteria for primary hyperparathyroidism. Other causes of hypercalcemia are rare, and usually are associated with low (or sometimes normal) parathyroid hormone levels. Malignancy is the most frequent cause of hypercalcemia in hospitalized patients. Parathyroidectomy is the definitive treatment for primary hyperparathyroidism. When performed by experienced endocrine surgeons, the procedure has success rates of 90 to 95 percent and a low rate of complications. Asymptomatic patients who decline surgery and meet criteria for medical management must commit to conscientious long-term monitoring. Any unexplained elevation of the serum calcium level should be evaluated promptly to prevent complications from hypercalcemia.

Hyperparathyroidism - Article

ABSTRACT: Hyperparathyroidism is a common cause of hypercalcemia. The hypercalcemia usually is discovered during a routine serum chemistry profile. Often, there has been no previous suspicion of this disorder. In most patients initially believed to be asymptomatic, previously unrecognized symptoms resolve with surgical correction of the disorder. The symptoms of hyperparathyroidism are vague and often similar to symptoms of depression, irritable bowel syndrome, fibromyalgia or stress reaction. Complications of primary hyperparathyroidism include peptic ulcers, nephrolithiasis, pancreatitis and dehydration. Surgical management is usually indicated. When medical management is used, routine monitoring for clinical deterioration is recommended. Preoperative localization of adenomas with technetium Tc 99m sestamibi scan is possible but may be unnecessary. An experienced surgeon should perform the parathyroidectomy.

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