The utility of the radionuclide probe in parathyroidectomy for primary hyperparathyroidism

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Parathyroidectomy is the definitive treatment for primary hyperparathyroidism but the intraoperative identification of adenomas is challenging. The aim of this study was to evaluate the utility of a radionuclide probe (RNP) in addition to intraoperative parathyroid hormone (IOPTH) measurement as an intraoperative diagnostic adjunct in patients undergoing parathyroidectomy for primary hyperparathyroidism.


This was a retrospective cohort study of patients treated between 2004 and 2015 in a university affiliated teaching hospital. Patients were grouped into those with RNP use (RNP+) and those without (RNP-). The primary outcome measure was rate of operative failure, which included false positives. The diagnostic sensitivity and positive predictive value of both RNP and IOPTH were also evaluated.


A total of 298 patients were included in the study, 127 (42.6%) being in the RNP+ group and 171 (57.4%) in the RNP- group. The false positive rate for the RNP+ patients was 1.6% compared with 9.4% for RNP- patients (p=0.006, hazard ratio [HR]: 6.45). The rates of operative failure were 6.3% and 11.7% respectively (p=0.159, HR: 1.97). RNP use had a sensitivity of 92.0% and a positive predictive value of 98.3% compared with 78.6% and 95.2% respectively for IOPTH monitoring.


RNP use is associated with fewer false positives and reduced operative failure than IOPTH measurement. It also has a higher sensitivity and positive predictive value. RNP use is recommended in centres that have the required facilities.

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