Management of patients with mild primary hyperparathyroidism (PHPT) has been widely discussed because most patients today do not have specific symptoms. While surgery is always an option, the recommendations for treatment have shifted, which mostly reflects changes in clinical practice. In this study, we aimed to evaluate evidence for the current recommendations concerning operation vs observation, repletion with vitamin D (VitD) and alternative medical management.
Surgery is followed by normalisation of calcium and parathyroid hormone (PTH) and a decrease in bone turnover followed by an increase in bone mass. It is not known what the consequences would be for the frequency of fractures. Randomised studies have indicated beneficial effects of operation on quality of life (QoL), but the effects have been minor and inconsistent. Operation seems not to be superior to observation for cardiovascular risk factors. Although PHPT patients in average have slightly decreased plasma 25OH VitD, severe symptomatic VitD deficiency seems not to be a characteristic of PHPT patients in Europe. However, if present, we recommend VitD substitution before final decision on surgical treatment. It is unknown whether routine VitD supplementation should be offered preoperatively to all patients with mild PHPT or as part of long-term medical treatment.
Targeted medical management could be an option for patients with contraindications to surgery. Antiresorptive therapy might be appropriate for patients with a low bone mass to prevent further bone loss. Calcimimetics could be tried to control serum calcium levels although there is no evidence of an effect on the hypercalcaemic symptoms or the QoL. Combined therapy with calcimimetics and alendronate could be considered for patients with hypercalcaemia and overt bone disease.