Papers And Originals

Secondary Hyperparathyroidism in Osteomalacia

Br Med J 1970; 1 doi: (Published 10 January 1970) Cite this as: Br Med J 1970;1:76
  1. N. C. Thalassinos,
  2. Susan Wicht,
  3. G. F. Joplin


    Twenty-one patients with histologically proved osteomalacia from various causes were investigated for biochemical and radiological evidence of osteomalacia and secondary hyperparathyroidism. Among the 15 who maintained a normal serum calcium, seven had a raised phosphate excretion index, seven had a raised serum alkaline phosphatase, and six had phalangeal erosions. On the other hand, six patients had a subnormal serum calcium; of these, none showed a raised phosphate excretion index, one had a raised serum alkaline phosphatase, and one had erosions. The phosphate excretion index and the alkaline phosphatase were strongly correlated (r = +0·84). It is concluded that this absence of manifest secondary hyperparathyroidism in some patients with osteomalacia is due to failure of an increase in the release of parathyroid hormone. Measurement of phosphaturia does not appear to be a useful means of detecting osteomalacia. Subsequently, the 24-hour (stable) strontium space measurement was found to be the most sensitive single biochemical screening test for osteomalacia.