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Hypocalcaemic Primary Hyperparathyroidism

Br Med J 1970; 1 doi: (Published 24 January 1970) Cite this as: Br Med J 1970;1:208
  1. W. M. Keynes,
  2. F. I. Caird


    A patient with many symptoms and signs of primary hyperparathyroidism had hypocalcaemia when first seen. Bone section histology showed osteomalacia and osteitis fibrosa, and the hyperparathyroidism at this stage was considered to be secondary to osteomalacia with postgastrectomy steatorrhoea. On treatment with vitamin D (with disappearance of her bone pains and weakness) she developed hypercalcaemia. She regained her health after removal of a 6-g. parathyroid adenoma. Normal histology was shown in another parathyroid gland.

    We believe that the initial hypocalcaemia was due to vitamin-D deficiency, which produced ineffective hyperparathyroidism until it was corrected. A review of the few reports of patients with autonomous hyperparathyroidism with steatorrhoea and osteomalacia does not support the argument that these patients had “tertiary” disease. It suggests that most of them, like our patient, had primary hyperparathyroidism.