The following is a summary of “Hyperparathyroid crisis: Characteristics and outcomes,” published in the MARCH 2023 issue of Surgery by Muntaser, et al.

Hyperparathyroid crisis (HPTC) is characterized by severe symptomatic hypercalcemia with calcium levels of ≥14 mg/dl, which can be potentially lethal. For a study, researchers sought to determine the incidence of HPTC and compared it to hyperparathyroidism (HPT) without crisis (HPTWC).

The study retrospectively analyzed patients with surgically treated HPT between 1990 and 2022. Of 783 patients with primary HPT, 18 (2.4%) had HPTC. Patients with HPTC had higher preoperative calcium and parathyroid hormone levels, larger gland weights, and higher rates of ectopic glands, carcinoma, recurrence, and mortality than patients with HPTWC (P < 0.05 for all comparisons). Furthermore, patients with HPTC had lower postoperative calcium levels than those with HPTWC.

HPTC is a rare condition that presents with severe HPT and is associated with a higher risk of recurrence and mortality than HPTWC. Patients with HPTC had larger parathyroid glands that were more often ectopic and malignant. The study highlighted the importance of early detection and management of HPT to prevent the development of HPTC.