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Rapid intraoperative parathyroid hormone assay--more than just a comfort measure.Hanif, F; Coffey, J C; Romics, L Jr; O'Sullivan, K; Aftab, F; Redmond, H P; Department of Surgery, National University of Ireland, Cork, and Cork University , Hospital, Cork, Ireland. (2012-02-03)BACKGROUND: Minimally invasive radio-guided parathyroidectomy (MIRP) has been embraced as an acceptable therapeutic approach to primary hyperparathyroidism. Preoperative sestamibi scanning has facilitated this technique. Here we evaluate the addition of a rapid intraoperative parathyroid hormone (iPTH) assay for patients undergoing MIRP. METHODS: A series of 51 patients underwent sestamibi localization of parathyroid glands followed by MIRP for primary hyperparathyroidism. Using peripheral venous samples, iPTH levels were measured prior to gland excision, as well as post-excision at 5, 10, and 15 minutes, taking a 50% reduction in iPTH level as indicative of complete excision. Next, changes in serum iPTH were compared with preoperative and postoperative changes in serum calcium, as well as levels of intraoperative ex-vivo radiation counts taken by hand-held gamma probe. RESULTS: In this series, a drop of greater than 50% in iPTH levels was observed in 94% of patients (n=48). Moreover, a significant drop in iPTH occurred within 10 minutes of excision in the majority (n=42) of cases (P<0.004). Changes in iPTH were comparable with the therapeutic reduction in calcium levels, as well as with the change in intraoperative ex-vivo gamma counts. CONCLUSIONS: This study demonstrates that the addition of an iPTH assay to MIRP provides a quick and reliable intraoperative diagnostic modality in confirming correct adenoma removal. Moreover, it precludes the requirement of frozen section.