A symptom-based algorithm for calcium management after thyroid surgery: A prospective multicenter study

Caroline M.J. van Kinschot, Ivona Lončar, the Thyroid Network Study Group, Tessa M. van Ginhoven, W. Edward Visser, Robin P. Peeters, Charlotte van Noord*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

Objective: Evidence-based treatment guidelines for the management of postthyroidectomy hypocalcemia are absent. The aim of this study was to evaluate a newly developed symptom-based treatment algorithm including a protocolized attempt to phase out supplementation. Methods: In a prospective multicenter study, patients were treated according to the new algorithm and compared to a historical cohort of patients treated with a biochemically based approach. The primary outcome was the proportion of patients receiving calcium and/or alfacalcidol supplementation. Secondary outcomes were calcium-related complications and predictors for supplementation. Results: One hundred thirty-four patients were included prospectively, and compared to 392 historical patients. The new algorithm significantly reduced the proportion of patients treated with calcium and/or alfacalcidol during the first postoperative year (odds ratio (OR): 0.36 (95% CI: 0.23-0.54), P < 0.001), and persistently at 12 months follow-up (OR: 0.51 (95% CI: 0.28-0.90), P < 0.05). No severe calcium-related complications occurred, even though calcium-related visits to the emergency department and readmissions increased (OR: 11.5 (95% CI: 4.51-29.3), P <0.001) and (OR: 3.46 (95% CI: 1.58-7.57), P < 0.05), respectively. The proportional change in pre- to postoperative parathyroid hormone (PTH) was an independent predictor for supplementation (OR: 1.04 (95% CI: 1.02-1.07), P < 0.05). Conclusions: Symptom-based management of postthyroidectomy hypocalcemia and a protocolized attempt to phase out supplementation safely reduced the proportion of patients receiving supplementation, although the number of calcium-related hospital visits increased. For the future, we envision a more individualized treatment approach for patients at risk for delayed symptomatic hypocalcemia, including the proportional change in pre- to post- operative PTH.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere230044
JournalEuropean Thyroid Journal
Volume12
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023

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