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Aliya A Khan, Bart Clarke, Lars Rejnmark and Maria Luisa Brandi


Review calcium homeostasis in pregnancy and provide evidence-based best practice recommendations for the management of hypoparathyroidism in pregnancy.


We searched MEDLINE, EMBASE and Cochrane databases from January 2000 to April 1, 2018. A total of 65 articles were included in the final review.


During pregnancy, calcitriol levels increase by two- to—three-fold resulting in enhanced intestinal calcium absorption. The renal filtered calcium load increases leading to hypercalciuria. PTHrP production by the placenta and breasts increases by three-fold, and this may lower the doses of calcium and calcitriol required during pregnancy in mothers with hypoparathyroidism. The literature however describes a wide variation in the required doses of calcium and calcitriol during pregnancy in hypoparathyroid mothers, with some women requiring higher doses of calcitriol, whereas others require lower doses. Close monitoring is necessary as hypercalcemia in the mother may suppress the fetal parathyroid gland development. Also hypocalcemia in the mother is harmful as it may result in secondary hyperparathyroidism in the fetus. This may be associated with demineralization of the fetal skeleton and the development of intrauterine fractures. Inadequate treatment of hypoparathyroidism may also result in uterine contractions and an increased risk of miscarriage. Treatment targets during pregnancy are to maintain a low normal serum calcium. Calcium, calcitriol and vitamin D supplements are safe during pregnancy. Close monitoring of the mother with a multidisciplinary team is advised for optimal care. If calcium homeostasis is well controlled during pregnancy, most women with hypoparathyroidism have an uncomplicated pregnancy and give birth to healthy babies.

Open access

Aliya A Khan, Christian A Koch, Stan Van Uum, Jean Patrice Baillargeon, Jens Bollerslev, Maria Luisa Brandi, Claudio Marcocci, Lars Rejnmark, Rene Rizzoli, M Zakarea Shrayyef, Rajesh Thakker, Bulent O Yildiz and Bart Clarke

Purpose: To provide practice recommendations for the diagnosis and management of hypoparathyroidism in adults.

Methods: Key questions pertaining to the diagnosis and management of hypoparathyroidism were addressed following a literature review. We searched PubMed, MEDLINE, EMBASE and Cochrane databases from January 2000 to March 2018 using keywords ‘hypoparathyroidism, diagnosis, treatment, calcium, PTH, calcidiol, calcitriol, hydrochlorothiazide and pregnancy’. Only English language papers involving humans were included. We excluded letters, reviews and editorials. The quality of evidence was evaluated based on the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE) approach. These standards of care for hypoparathyroidism have been endorsed by the Canadian Society of Endocrinology and Metabolism.

Results: Hypoparathyroidism is a rare disease characterized by hypocalcemia, hyperphosphatemia and a low or inappropriately normal serum parathyroid hormone level (PTH). The majority of cases are post-surgical (75%) with nonsurgical causes accounting for the remaining 25% of cases. A careful review is required to determine the etiology of the hypoparathyroidism in individuals with nonsurgical disease. Hypoparathyroidism is associated with significant morbidity and poor quality of life. Treatment requires close monitoring as well as patient education. Conventional therapy with calcium supplements and active vitamin D analogs is effective in improving serum calcium as well as in controlling the symptoms of hypocalcemia. PTH replacement is of value in lowering the doses of calcium and active vitamin D analogs required and may be of value in lowering long-term complications of hypoparathyroidism. This manuscript addresses acute and chronic management of hypoparathyroidism in adults.

Main conclusions: Hypoparathyroidism requires careful evaluation and pharmacologic intervention in order to improve serum calcium and control the symptoms of hypocalcemia. Frequent laboratory monitoring of the biochemical profile and patient education is essential to achieving optimal control of serum calcium.