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Background: The purpose of our study is to verify if PTH assay on the first postoperative day is a reliable early pre – dictor of the onset of hypocalcemia.
Methods: Between October 1999 and May 2000, a prospective trial involved 162 patients who underwent total or near total thyroidectomy at our institute. On the basis of PTH assay on first day we divided the patients in three groups: group A 28 patients with PTH <10 pg/ml; group B 34 patients with PTH between 10 and 16 pg/ml; group C 100 patients with PTH >16 pg/ml.
Results: In group A: 22 of 28 patients (78.5%) developed postoperative hypocalcemia and 20 (71.4%) needed replacement therapy; in group B: 14 of 34 (41.1%) had posto – perative hypocalcemia and 10 (29.4%) received treatment; in group C: 23 of 100 (23%) became hypocalcemic after surgery but only 5 (5%) require calcium-vitamin therapy. A statistically significant correlation (p=0.0017) was identified between post-operative PTH levels and lowest blood calcium values detected after surgery.