Comparative characteristics of primary hyperparathyroidism in pediatric and young adult patients

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Primary hyperparathyroidism is rare in pediatric patients. Our study aim was to compare primary hyperparathyroidism in pediatric (<19 years) and young adult (19–29 years) patients.


A prospectively collected database from a single, high-volume institution was queried for all patients age <30 years who had initial parathyroidectomy for primary hyperparathyroidism yielding 126/4,546 (2.7%) primary hyperparathyroidism patients representing 39 pediatric and 87 young adult patients. Presenting symptoms, operative data, and postoperative course were compared for patients age 0–19 years and 20–29 years.


Sporadic primary hyperparathyroidism was present in 81.7% and occurred less often in pediatric patients than young adult patients (74.4% vs 86.2%, P = .12). Among patients with hereditary primary hyperparathyroidism, multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1 was the most common type. Multiglandular disease was common in both pediatric (30.7%) and young adult (21.8%) patients. Following parathyroidectomy, 3 (2.3%) patients had permanent hypoparathyroidism and none had permanent recurrent laryngeal nerve paralysis. Biochemical cure at 6 months was equally likely in pediatric and young adult patients (97.1% vs 93.6%, P = .44) with comparable follow-up (78.4 months vs 69.1 months, P = .66) and rates of recurrent disease (5.9% vs 10.3%, P = .46). Recurrence was due to multiple endocrine neoplasia 1-related primary hyperparathyroidism in all cases.


Although primary hyperparathyroidism is sporadic in most patients <19 years, they are more likely to have multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1–associated primary hyperparathyroidism (23%). Parathyroidectomy for primary hyperparathyroidism can be performed safely in pediatric patients with a high rate of cure. Follow-up for patients with hereditary disease is necessary.

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