Clinical efficacy of 2-phase versus 4-phase computed tomography for localization in primary hyperparathyroidism

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Four-dimensional computed tomography is being used increasingly for localization of abnormal glands in primary hyperparathyroidism. We hypothesized that compared with traditional 4-phase imaging, 2-phase imaging would halve the radiation dose without compromising parathyroid localization and clinical outcomes.


A transition from 4-phase to 2-phase imaging was instituted between 2009 and 2010. A pre-post analysis was performed on patients undergoing operative treatment with a parathyroid protocol computed tomography, and relevant data were correlated with operative findings. Sensitivity, positive predictive value, technical success, and cure rates were calculated. The Fisher exact test or χ2 test assessed the significance of 2-phase and 4-phase imaging and operative findings.


Twenty-seven patients had traditional four-dimensional computed tomography and 35 had modified 2-phase computed tomography. Effective radiation doses were 6.8 mSy for 2-phase and 14 mSv for 4-phase. Four-phase computed tomography had a sensitivity and positive predictive value of 93% and 96%, respectively. Two-phase computed tomography had a comparable sensitivity and positive predictive value of 97% and 94%, respectively. Eight patients with discordant imaging had an average parathyroid weight of 240 g compared with 1,300 g for all patients. Technical surgical success (90% for 4-phase computed tomography versus 91% 2-phase computed tomography) and normocalcemia rates at 6 months (88% for both) did not differ between computed tomography protocols. Computed tomography correctly predicted multiglandular disease and localization for reoperations in 88% and 90% of cases, respectively, with no difference by computed tomography protocol.


With regard to surgical outcomes and localization, 2-phase parathyroid computed tomography is equivalent to 4-phase for parathyroid localization, including small adenomas, reoperative cases, and multiglandular disease. Two-phase parathyroid computed tomography for operative planning should be considered to avoid unnecessary radiation exposure.

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