Acta Med. 2019, 62: 156-160

Primary Hyperparathyroidism Manifesting with Severe Hypercalcemia in a Nonagenarian Man: Pitfall of Common Imaging Techniques, Localization by 18F-Choline Positron Emission Tomography/Computed Tomography and Successful Management with Calcimimetics

Luca Foppiania, Gianluca Bottonib, Arnoldo Piccardob

aInternal Medicine, Galliera Hospital, Genoa, Italy
bNuclear Medicine, Galliera Hospital, Genoa, Italy

Received June 27, 2019
Accepted September 24, 2019

A nonagenarian hypertensive man with chronic kidney disease (CKD) was admitted to the emergency department for gastrointestinal symptoms and worsening symptoms of depression. Severe hypercalcemia (15.3 mg/dL) was found and he was hospitalized. Fluids, loop diuretics and glucocorticoids were administered intravenously, which partially reduced calcium levels over a few days and improved his clinical condition. PTH levels proved increased (306 pg/mL) and 25-OHD levels were reduced; primary hyperparathyroidism (PHPT) was diagnosed. Neck ultrasonography (USG) did not show parathyroid enlargement, nor did 99mTechnetium-sestamibi (SESTAMIBI) scintigraphy reveal hyperfunctioning parathyroid glands. By contrast, 18F-choline PET/CT evidenced a nodule located close to the oesophagus, behind the right thyroid lobe, which proved compatible with a hyperfunctioning parathyroid gland. Since the patient declined surgery, and zoledronate was unfit owing to areas of rarefaction of the jaw, the calcimimetic cinacalcet was started; the dosage was progressively titrated up to 120 mg/day with normalisation of calcium levels over time. PTH levels, however, proved erratic and showed an upward trend over the first year of therapy; however its levels partially decreased following increase of vitamin D levels by replacement therapy. Cinacalcet is a useful and safe drug, which can normalise calcium levels and improve the clinical condition, even in very old patients with severe PHPT who decline or are unfit for surgery.


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