Research Article

Effect of aluminium hydroxide on serum ionised calcium, immunoreactive parathyroid hormone, and aluminium in chronic renal failure.

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1982; 284 doi: (Published 13 March 1982) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1982;284:776
  1. C K Biswas,
  2. R S Arze,
  3. J M Ramos,
  4. M K Ward,
  5. J H Dewar,
  6. D N Kerr,
  7. D H Kenward


    According to the Bricker-Slatopolsky theory, secretion of parathyroid hormone (PTH) is switched on in chronic renal failure by hypocalcaemia due to phosphate retention. In an attempt to reverse this process 20 patients in preterminal renal failure (plasma creatinine 569 +/- 195 mumol/l) were given aluminium hydroxide, 3.8 g daily. They were studied for four weeks and all measurements were made at the start and weekly, except measurements of serum aluminium concentration, which were made at the start and at the end of the fourth week. Mean serum phosphate fell from 1.89 to 1.47 mmol/l (5.9 to 4.6 mg/100), mean serum calcium rose from 2.07 to 2.24 mmol/l (8.3 to 9.0 mg/100 ml), and serum ionised calcium rose from 1.07 to 1.20 mmol/l (4.3 to 4.8 mg/100 ml), but serum immunoreactive PTH did not fall. Thirteen patients had initial serum immunoreactive PTH concentrations at or near to normal and 11 were taking beta-blockers but even in those with neither explanation, PTH concentrations did not fall. Serum aluminium concentrations rose from 0.4 to 1.02 mumol/l (10.9 to 27.4 microgram/l). Aluminium hydroxide corrects serum phosphate, total calcium, and ionised calcium at the price of a rise in serum aluminium concentration; in this study it did not affect serum immunoreactive PTH. The Bricker-Slatopolsky theory still needs verification in studies of patients with chronic renal failure.