Total Parathyroidectomy With Routine Thymectomy and Autotransplantation Versus Total Parathyroidectomy Alone for Secondary Hyperparathyroidism: Results of a Nonconfirmatory Multicenter Prospective Randomized Controlled Pilot Trial

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This randomized controlled multicenter pilot trial was conducted to find robust estimates for the rates of recurrence of 2 surgical strategies for secondary hyperparathyroidism (SHPT) within 36 months of follow-up.


SHPT is a frequent consequence of chronic renal failure. Total parathyroidectomy with autotransplantation (TPTX+AT) and subtotal parathyroidectomy (SPTX) are the standard surgical procedures. Total parathyroidectomy alone (TPTX) might be a good alternative, as morbidity and recurrence rates are low according to small-scale retrospective studies.


The trial was performed as a nonconfirmatory randomized controlled pilot trial with 100 patients on long-term dialysis with otherwise uncontrollable SHPT to generate data on the rate of recurrent disease within a 3-year follow-up period after TPTX or TPTX+AT. Parathyroid hormone (PTH) and calcium levels, recurrent or persistent hyperparathyroidism, parathyroid reoperations, morbidity, and mortality were evaluated during a 3-year follow-up.


A total of 52 patients underwent TPTX and 48 TPTX+AT. Patient characteristics, preoperative baseline data, duration of surgery (02:29 vs 02:47 hrs, P = 0.17) and mean hospital stay (10 ± 7.1 vs 8 ± 3.7 days, P = 0.11) did not differ significantly. Persistent SHPT developed in 1 TPTX and 2 TPTX+AT patients. None of the TPTX patients required delayed parathyroid AT to treat permanent hypoparathyroidism. Serum-calcium values were similar (2.1 ± 0.3 vs 2.1 ± 0.2, P = 0.95) whereas PTH rose by time in the TPTX+AT group and was significantly higher at the end of follow-up when compared with the TPTX group (31.7 ± 43.6 vs 98.2 ± 156.8, P = 0.02). Recurrent SHPT developed in 4 TPTX+AT and none of the TPTX patients.


TPTX+AT and TPTX seem to be safe and equally effective for the treatment of otherwise uncontrollable SHPT. TPTX seems to suppress PTH more effectively and showed no recurrences after 3 years. The hypothesis that TPTX is superior to TPTX+AT referring to the rate of recurrent SHPT has to be tested in a large-scale confirmatory trial. Nevertheless, TPTX seems to be a feasible alternative therapeutic option for the surgical treatment of SHPT.

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