Psychosomatic symptoms in primary hyperparathyroidism (PHPT) are various and include such conditions as obsessive-compulsive disorder, depression, anxiety, and paranoia. In the elderly the clinical features of the disease are often non-specific and difficult to diagnose. To quantify subjective symptoms of patients with hyperparathyroidism in the elderly, we determined whether these clinical manifestations resolved after surgical parathyroidectomy (PTX) in three PHPT patients over eighty years old. They were diagnosed with hypercalcemia, hypophosphatemia, high PTH concentrations, and osteoporosis. A single parathyroid adenoma was confirmed in each patient by Tc-MIBI scintigram, neck ultrasonography and computed tomographic scanning. PTX was performed in these three patients. Assessments of psychologic symptoms, using the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression (HAM-D), serum calcium, and intact PTH were obtained before and after PTX. Mean weight of the resected adenomas was 438 +/- 138 mg (mean +/- SD). After PTX, serum calcium decreased from 11.1 +/- 0.5 to 9.2 +/- 0.5 mg/dl and intact PTH from 160.0 +/- 25.2 to 45.3 +/- 22.2 pg/ml. Total HAM-D scores in each patient decreased from 45 to 9, 17 to 1 and 15 to 5, respectively. Especially, there were marked improvements in depressive mood, psychomotor inhibition, anxiety and somatic symptoms after PTX. The quality of life in those patients was also improved by PTX. We propose here that PTX in elderly PHPT patients with psychiatric symptoms should be considered instead of oral administration, such as anti-depressants or bisphosphonates.
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