Screening and management of postoperative hypoparathyroidism-induced hypocalcemia in thyroidectomized patients in the endocrine ward compared with the surgical ward | Ear, Nose & Throat Journal Skip to content Skip to navigation

Screening and management of postoperative hypoparathyroidism-induced hypocalcemia in thyroidectomized patients in the endocrine ward compared with the surgical ward

| Reprints
April 30, 2018
by Nina Sauer, MD; Anne Lautenbach, MD; Katharina Pohl, MD; Gerhard Schon, MD; Hans-Peter Brose, MD; Clarissa Alexandra Schulze zur Wiesch, MD; Jens Carsten Aberle, MD

Abstract

Transient hypoparathyroid-associated hypocalcemia is a common side effect after thyroidectomy. Not only may it be life-threatening, but it also can distinctly affect length of hospital stay and treatment costs. Screening and treatment practices are suspected to differ between clinicians in endocrine and surgical wards. We therefore compared discipline-related differences in screening and treatment of hypocalcemia as well as the length of hospital stay of patients after thyroidectomy. Data from 170 patients treated with total thyroidectomy in the Department of Otolaryngology (n = 29), General Surgery (n = 49) and Endocrinology (n = 92) were analyzed, and measurements of postoperative calcium and parathyroid hormone, calcium at time of discharge, percentage of discharge with a calcium level <1.9 mmol/L (defined as severe hypocalcemia), treatment of hypocalcemia, and duration of hospitalization were compared between disciplines. Postoperative calcium levels were measured in 97.8% of patients in endocrine wards compared with 83.3% in surgical departments (p = 0.001), and discharge with a calcium level <1.9 mmol/L was statistically more frequent in surgical vs. endocrine wards. Additional to calcium supplementation, active vitamin D was administered in 95% of patients treated in endocrine wards vs. 35% in surgical wards. Length of hospitalization was 8.12 (±6.62) days (endocrinology) to 10.55 (±9.39) days (surgical wards) (p = 0.05). Monitoring of calcium levels is an important indicator of the quality of postoperative care after thyroidectomy. To prevent postoperative hypocalcemia-induced complications and to reduce the length of hospital stay, an interdisciplinary approach for the management of hypocalcemia after thyroidectomy might be a promising model for future treatment concepts.

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