The parathyroid glands are four pea-sized glands located on the thyroid gland in the neck. They secrete parathyroid hormone, which maintains the body’s calcium and phosphorus levels. If the parathyroid glands secrete too much parathyroid hormone, then blood calcium levels rise. This is called hyperparathyroidism. Too much blood calcium can cause bone loss and kidney stones.
Parathyroid hormone testing in the community setting has increased steadily in Ontario since 2005. In 2011/12, 149,690 tests were conducted, at a cost of $9,286,768 (Cdn).
Health Quality Ontario Reviews Parathyroid Hormone Testing
Given the prevalence of hyperparathyroidism in Ontario, experts estimate the total number of parathyroid hormone tests needed each year to be 76,574. Hyperparathyroidism is uncommon, and of the tests done in Ontario during 2011/12 nearly half may have been unneeded.
The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care endorses this recommendation.
The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care has provided the following response: The Ministry agrees with this recommendation and encourages health care professionals to adhere to it.