Thursday, April 11, 2013

Intraoperative Parathyroid Hormone Monitoring in Dogs with Hyperparathyroidism

Intraoperative Parathyroid Hormone Concentration to Confirm Removal of Hypersecretory Parathyroid Tissue and Time to Postoperative Normocalcaemia in Nine Dogs with Primary Hyperparathyroidism

K.J. Graham, M. Wilkinson, J. Culvenor, N.K. Dhand, and R.K. Churcher

Primary hyperparathyroidism is a relatively uncommon disease in dogs but must always be considered as a differential cause of hypercalcemia, particularly in an older, relatively asymptomatic dog with no evidence for malignancy (1-5). In primary hyperparathyroidism, parathyroid gland function is autonomous and nonresponsive to inhibition.  In approximately 90% of dogs, single parathyroid adenomas are responsible, but two adenomas, hyperplastic nodules or, rarely, carcinomas have been reported (2,6)

In human patients suffering from primary hyperparathyroidism, intraoperative parathyroid hormone (PTH) measurement is a highly sensitive and specific tool for determining successful removal of autonomously functioning parathyroid tissue (7-10). In this procedure, PTH is measured just prior to parathyroidectomy and at least 10 minutes after parathyroid tumor removal.  Since PTH has a plasma half life of less than 5 minutes (11), removal of a parathyroid tumor leads to a rapid fall in circulating PTH concentrations within minutes. The criterion for a positive test result varies between studies, but is generally accepted that > 50% decrease in PTH values indicates successful parathyroid tumor removal (7-10). A recent prospective veterinary study of 12 dogs demonstrated a greater than 50% reduction in parathyroidectomy PTH in all dogs, confirming correct removal of the hypersecretory gland (12).

The aims of this study by Graham et al (13) were to determine if serum PTH concentrations would decrease after successful parathyroidectomy and whether manipulation or dissection of the target gland would cause a transient increase in PTH, given its rapid half-life.

Objective of Study — To determine whether the intraoperative parathyroid hormone concentration (PTH) during parathyroidectomy can be used to indicate a cure in dogs with primary hyperparathyroidism. A secondary objective was to determine the time taken for the postoperative serum calcium concentration to normalize.

Design — Retrospective study (2005–2010) from a private referral hospital in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.

Procedure — Nine client-owned dogs underwent surgical parathyroidectomy for naturally occurring primary hyperparathyroidism. The first PTH sample was taken immediately after induction of anesthesia and prior to manipulation of parathyroid tissue.  A second sample was collected as the abnormal parathyroid gland was being manipulated or excised in 6 dogs. A final PTH sample was taken 20–30 minutes after completion of parathyroidectomy in all dogs.

The concentration of ionized calcium (iCa) was measured at various time points postoperatively until it normalized, then stabilized or decreased below reference ranges. Statistical analysis compared the mean pre-, intra- and post-parathyroidectomy PTH concentration and the average rate of decline of iCa concentration postoperative.

Assays—Blood for PTH measurement was collected from the jugular vein and placed into plain tubes on ice for 30 minutes, centrifuged at 2500g and the serum transferred to a plain tube for storage at 4°C until assay. The serum specimens were assayed for PTH within 2 hours of collection, and results were available by the afternoon of surgery.

Intact serum PTH was assayed using an in-house, quick chemiluminescent enzyme immunometric assay, which is a modification of the Immulite PTH assay (Immulite Turbo: Siemens Medical Solutions Diagnostics).

Results – Serum PTH concentrations fell significantly when measured before and shortly after parathyroidectomy from mean pre-PTH value of 168.51 pg/mL to mean post-parathyroidectomy value of 29.20 pg/mL (Fig. 1). Intraoperative manipulation of the parathyroid tumor resulted in a significant increase in the mean PTH value to 279.78 pg/mL (Fig. 1). The average rate of decline of iCa concentration to within the reference range (1.12-1.40 mmol/L) occurred after 24 hours postoperatively.

Figure 1: Mean PTH concentration before surgery, at time of manipulation of the parathyroid tumor, and 20 min after parathyroidectomy.
Conclusions – Intraoperative measurements of PTH can be used clinically to determine cure of primary hyperparathyroidism. Parathyroid hormone increases significantly during parathyroid gland manipulation. Plasma iCa concentration returns to within the reference range on average 24 hours after successful parathyroidectomy. Not all dogs require vitamin D or calcium supplementation postoperatively.

My Bottom Line:

In this study (13), the investigators were able to document that use of intraoperative PTH in dogs undergoing parathyroidectomy for primary hyperparathyroidism can be a very powerful technique to determine successful surgical removal of the parathyroid tumor and predict outcome. Following parathyroid tumor removal, serum PTH fell dramatically when remeasured at 20-30 minutes postoperatively (see Figure 1). This agrees with another study performed in dogs in which serum PTH fell by >50% when rechecked 30-45 minutes after excision of the diseased parathyroid gland (12).

The finding that PTH concentrations can rise dramatically after manipulation of the abnormal parathyroid tissue highlights the importance of waiting at least 20 minutes to collect the final PTH sample after adenoma removal. This interval ensures that circulating PTH has had enough time to fall to it nadir level before collection.  If collected too soon, the PTH may still be too high, leading one to believe that the surgery was not successful.

Is intraoperative PTH testing practical?
The cost and availability of PTH assays is a major limiting factor for use of intra-operative PTH testing in dogs. Very few veterinary practices, even large speciality hospitals, will have access for the dedicated lab equipment needed to perform these assays. A nearby human facility was used in this case series reported by Graham (13), whereas the only other veterinary case series (12) performed quick parathyroid testing with a in-house, dedicated machine.

And that brings up the biggest down-side to this method —is it feasible to have the results of PTH testing back during the surgical procedure so that we know that all of the involved parathyroid tissue has been removed hyperfunctioning gland prior to closing?  If the PTH samples must be sent out to an outside lab for analysis, that typically will take a few days to receive the PTH results. Such a delay overrides or negates almost all of the advantages of this diagnostic technique.

Remember, as shown in this present study (13), we can judge the success of the operation on the basis of serial serum ionized calcium concentrations, which normalize by 24 hours after successful surgery. We do not need a serum PTH measurement to tell us that operation for hyperparathyroidism has been successful, at least not in most dogs with this disease.

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