BACKGROUND: Patients with primary hyperparathyroidism (pHPT) and impaired kidney function (estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) < 60 mL/min) are offered parathyroidectomy (PTX) to protect them from further complications. Surprisingly, two recent uncontrolled cohort studies have suggested a further decrease in kidney function following PTX. We aimed to examine the effects of PTX compared to non-surgical surveillance on kidney function in pHPT patients.
METHODS: Historic cohort study. From the Danish National Patient Registry (NPR) and major medical biochemistry laboratories in Denmark, we identified 3585 patients with biochemically confirmed pHPT among whom n = 1977 (55%) were treated with PTX (PTX-group) whereas n = 1608 (45%) were followed without surgery (non-PTX group). Baseline was defined as time of diagnosis and kidney function was re-assessed 9-15 months after PTX (PTX group) or 9-15 months after diagnosis (non-PTX group).
RESULTS: At follow-up, eGFR had decreased significantly in the PTX- compared to the non-PTX-group (median - 4% vs. - 1%, p < 0.01). Stratification by baseline eGFR showed that the decrease was significant for those with a baseline eGFR value of 80-89 and > 90 mL/min, but not for those with lower eGFR values. Findings did not differ between patients with mild compared to moderate/severe hypercalcemia. However, after mutual adjustments, we identified baseline levels of calcium, PTH, and eGFR as well as age and treatment (PTX vs. no-PTX) as independent predictors for changes in kidney function.
CONCLUSION: Compared to non-surgical surveillance, PTX is associated with a small but significant decrease in kidney function in pHPT patients with an initial normal kidney function.