BACKGROUND - Sample collection site may affect the dynamics of intraoperative parathyroid hormone monitoring (IPM) and influence surgical decisions.
METHODS - We prospectively studied 45 patients undergoing parathyroidectomy for primary hyperparathyroidism. The IPM cure criterion was a decrease in peripheral vein (PV) parathyroid hormone (PTH) of >50% at 10 minutes after gland excision. PTH samples were collected simultaneously from PV and central vein (CV) and compared for PTH decay, the incidence of >50% PTH decay, and the incidence of normal PTH values after gland excision.
RESULTS - Mean PTH levels were significantly higher from the CV before and after gland excision. Mean PTH decay 10 minutes after gland excision was 89% PV versus 88% CV, resulting in mean PTH levels of 27 +/- 23 and 39 +/- 35 pg/mL, respectively (P < .0001). At 5 minutes, >50% decay in PTH was present in 98% PV versus 88% CV samples. By 10 minutes, the incidence of >50% PTH decay was equivalent (98%). This yielded normal range PTH levels from the PV versus CV in 90% versus 76% of patients at 5 minutes, 96% versus 89% at 10 minutes, and 95% versus 81% at 20 minutes. Of 45 patients, 44 (98%) are normocalcemic at a mean follow-up of 6.3 months. IPM predicted the single operative failure.
CONCLUSIONS - CV sampling produces significantly higher PTH levels. Surgeons sampling from a PV may observe a >50% decrease in PTH and normal range PTH values starting 5 minutes after gland excision. Surgeons who sample from the CV and require normalization of PTH levels may have to wait longer and/or continue potentially unnecessary neck exploration.