oa Central African Journal of Medicine - Iatrogenic hypoparathyroidism and preventable cataracts

Volume 22, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 0008-9176



Eight months after neck surgery, the patient descriptionbed below presented with symptoms of nervousness and insomnia, impairment of vision, followed by numbness and paraesthesiae of the hands, arms and face two months later, and developed carpopedal spasms after a further month. He was found to have hypocalcaemia, hypocalciuria, hyperphosphataemia and a low alkaline phosphatase. Symptoms, signs and metabolic state returned to normal after treatment with calciferol and calcium with the exception of his visual defect. Cataracts caused by hypoparathyroidism (HoPTH) are irreversible, and therefore every endeavour must be made to exclude this condition after neck surgery or irradiation, by repeated estimations of blood calcium and phosphate, in order to treat the three percent of this group who develop malfunction of the parathyroid glands, and so prevent HoPTH cataracts.

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