Hypocalcaemia after total thyroidectomy: incidence, control and treatment.

Acta otorrinolaringologica espanola

PubMedID: 23122368

Herranz González-Botas J, Lourido Piedrahita D. Hypocalcaemia after total thyroidectomy: incidence, control and treatment. Acta Otorrinolaringol Esp. 2013;64(2):102-7.
Hypocalcaemia, although usually transitory, is the most frequent complication after total thyroidectomy.

To identify factors associated with a higher risk of hypoparathyroidism and related to aetiology and surgical procedure.

A total of 254 total thyroidectomies were analysed for the incidence of transitory or permanent hypocalcaemia based on the relationship with etiological and surgical factors.

Transient hypocalcaemia was present in 29.1% of the cases and permanent hypocalcemia was present in 4.7%. Postoperative hypocalcaemia was lower in patients with completion thyroidectomy than in patients that underwent total thyroidectomy in a single operation, 12% vs. 31%. Patients with Graves-Basedow disease developed postoperative hypocalcaemia in 50% of the cases. Mean recovery time of parathyroid function was 5.2 months, with 72.2% of the patients recovering before 6 months.

Postoperative hypocalcaemia is a frequent complication of total thyroidectomy, but it is seldom permanent. Patients with Graves-Basedow disease have a higher incidence of postoperative hypocalcaemia and need closer follow-up. Postoperative calcium level analysis at 24 and 48 h after surgery is not useful for rapid identification of patients at high risk of hypocalcaemia.