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Hypoparathyroidism is a topic covered in the 5-Minute Clinical Consult.

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  • Deficient or absent secretion of parathyroid hormone (PTH), a major hormone regulator of serum calcium and phosphorus levels in the body (1)
  • Often asymptomatic
  • Acute hypoparathyroidism: tetany that is mild (muscle cramps, perioral numbness, paresthesias of hands and feet) or severe (carpopedal spasm, laryngospasm, heart failure, seizures, stridor)
  • Chronic: lethargy, anxiety/depression, urolithiasis and renal impairment, dementia, blurry vision from cataracts or keratoconjunctivitis, parkinsonism or other movement disorders, mental retardation, dental abnormalities, and dry, puffy, coarse skin
  • System(s) affected: endocrine/metabolic, musculoskeletal, nervous, opthomalogic, renal
Pediatric Considerations
  • May occur in premature infants
  • Neonates born to hypercalcemic mothers may experience suppression of developing parathyroid glands.
  • Congenital absence of parathyroids
  • May appear later in childhood as autoimmune or APS-1

Geriatric Considerations
Hypocalcemia is fairly common in elderly, however, rarely secondary to hypoparathyroidism.

Pregnancy Considerations
  • Use of magnesium as a tocolytic may induce functional hypoparathyroidism.
  • For women with hypoparathyroidism, calcitriol requirements decrease during lactation.


More common in women; affects all ages

Most common after surgical procedure of the anterior neck (75% of all cases). Transient hyperparathyroidism is seen after 6.9–46% of thyroidectomies, whereas permanent hypoparathyroidism, 0.9–1.6% at experienced centers.

Affects 24 to 37/100,000 persons per year (1). Autosomal dominant hypocalcemia with hypercalciuria (ADHH): 1/70,000 typically in infancy with hypocalcemic seizures

Etiology and Pathophysiology

  • PTH aids in regulating calcium homeostasis (1):
    • Mobilizes calcium and phosphorus from bone stores
    • Increases calcium absorption from the intestine by stimulating formation of 1,25-dihydroxy-vitamin D (1)
    • Stimulates reabsorption of calcium in the distal convoluted tubule and phosphate excretion in proximal tubule
  • Reduced or absent PTH action results in hypocalcemia, hyperphosphatemia, and hypercalciuria (1).
  • Acquired hypoparathyroidism
    • Surgical: removal or damage to parathyroid glands or their blood supply; thyroid, parathyroid, or radical neck surgery for head and neck cancers (2)
    • Autoimmune: isolated or combined with other endocrine deficiencies in polyglandular autoimmune (PGA) syndrome
    • Deposition of heavy metals in gland: copper (Wilson disease) or iron (hemochromatosis, thalassemias), radiation-induced destruction, and metastatic infiltration
    • Functional hypoparathyroidism: may result from hypomagnesemia or hypermagnesemia as magnesium is crucial for PTH secretion and activation of the PTH receptor
    • Congenital
      • Calcium-sensing receptor (CaSR) abnormalities: hypocalcemia with hypercalciuria
      • HDR or Barakat syndrome: deafness, renal dysplasia
      • Familial: mutations of the TBCE gene; abnormal PTH secretions
      • 22q11.2 deletion syndrome
  • Autoimmune: genetic gain-of-function mutation in CaSR
  • Infiltrative: metastatic carcinoma, hemochromatosis, Wilson disease, granulomas
  • Hypo- (alcoholics) or hypermagnesemia: chronic iron overloads

  • Genetic defects may result in X-linked or in autosomal recessive hypoparathyroidism due to abnormal parathyroid gland development; associated with mutations in the transcription factor glial cell missing B (GCMB)
  • Mutations in transcription factors or regulators of parathyroid gland development
    • Component of a larger genetic syndrome (APS-1 or DiGeorge syndrome) or in isolation (X-linked hypoparathyroidism) (3)
    • May be autosomal dominant (DiGeorge), autosomal recessive (APS-1), or X-linked recessive (X-linked hypoparathyroidism) (3)
    • Congenital syndromes
      • 22q11.2 deletion syndrome, familial hypomagnesemia, hypoparathyroidism with lymphedema (3)
      • Hypoparathyroidism with sensorineural deafness
      • ADHH: mutations gain-of-function of the CaSR gene suppressing the parathyroid gland, without elevation of PTH
    • PGA syndrome type I: mucocutaneous candidiasis, hypoparathyroidism, and Addison disease

Risk Factors

Neck surgery and neck trauma, neck malignancies, family history of hypocalcemia, PGA syndrome

General Prevention

Intraoperative identification and preservation of parathyroid tissue

Commonly Associated Conditions

  • DiGeorge syndrome
  • Bartter syndrome
  • PGA syndrome type I
  • Multiple endocrine deficiency autoimmune candidiasis (MEDAC) syndrome
  • Juvenile familial endocrinopathy
  • Addison disease
  • Moniliasis (HAM) syndrome: a polyglandular deficiency syndrome, possibly genetic, characterized by hypoparathyroidism

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Stephens, Mark B., et al., editors. "Hypoparathyroidism." 5-Minute Clinical Consult, 27th ed., Wolters Kluwer, 2019. 5minute, www.unboundmedicine.com/5minute/view/5-Minute-Clinical-Consult/116310/all/Hypoparathyroidism.
Hypoparathyroidism. In: Stephens MB, Golding J, Baldor RA, et al, eds. 5-Minute Clinical Consult. 27th ed. Wolters Kluwer; 2019. https://www.unboundmedicine.com/5minute/view/5-Minute-Clinical-Consult/116310/all/Hypoparathyroidism. Accessed April 20, 2019.
Hypoparathyroidism. (2019). In Stephens, M. B., Golding, J., Baldor, R. A., & Domino, F. J. (Eds.), 5-Minute Clinical Consult. Available from https://www.unboundmedicine.com/5minute/view/5-Minute-Clinical-Consult/116310/all/Hypoparathyroidism
Hypoparathyroidism [Internet]. In: Stephens MB, Golding J, Baldor RA, Domino FJ, editors. 5-Minute Clinical Consult. Wolters Kluwer; 2019. [cited 2019 April 20]. Available from: https://www.unboundmedicine.com/5minute/view/5-Minute-Clinical-Consult/116310/all/Hypoparathyroidism.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - ELEC T1 - Hypoparathyroidism ID - 116310 ED - Stephens,Mark B, ED - Golding,Jeremy, ED - Baldor,Robert A, ED - Domino,Frank J, BT - 5-Minute Clinical Consult, Updating UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/5minute/view/5-Minute-Clinical-Consult/116310/all/Hypoparathyroidism PB - Wolters Kluwer ET - 27 DB - 5minute DP - Unbound Medicine ER -