Parathyroidectomy for Secondary Hyperparathyroidism in the Era of Calcimimetics


Dr Yoshihiro Tominaga, Department of Transplant & Endocrine Surgery, Nagoya Daini Red Cross Hospital, 2-9 Myoken-cho, Showa-ku, Nagoya, Aichi 466-8650, Japan. Email:


Secondary hyperparathyroidism (SHPT) is one of the major complications experienced by patients with renal failure. Cinacalcet hydrochloride, a calcimimetic, is a new modality for the treatment of SHPT and is able to suppress a high parathyroid hormone level remarkably well. However, for patients with uncontrollable SHPT while on cinacalcet, those with severe SHPT symptoms and those with difficulty being treated with cinacalcet because of side-effects, parathyroidectomy (PTx) may be indicated as usual. PTx can induce a remarkable improvement in SHPT: postoperative serum phosphorus and calcium levels are easily maintained within their target ranges, quality of life is improved, survival rates are improved and the procedure has high cost-effectiveness, so for the patients with SHPT refractory to conventional vitamin D or vitamin D analog treatment in whom long-term survival is expected, PTx might be a more preferable treatment. On the other hand, cinacalcet is the first choice for patients in whom it is difficult to manage SHPT with PTx. Indications are patients (i) for whom surgery under general anesthesia would be highly invasive; (ii) whose parathyroid glands are located in an area making resection difficult; (iii) in whom the affected parathyroid tissues are difficult to identify; (iv) in whom it is difficult to resect all affected parathyroid tissues; and (v) who have undergone repeated surgery or percutaneous ethanol injection therapy and may develop serious complications such as bilateral recurrent laryngeal nerve paralysis. Cinacalcet may be a rescuer treatment for these patients.