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Evidence to Improve Care

Parathyroid Hormone

Ontario Health Technology Advisory Committee Recommendations

  • Parathyroid hormone should be measured only when high calcium levels are detected, as in suspected or established primary hyperparathyroidism.

  • Parathyroid hormone should be measured in patients with chronic renal disease as needed on an ongoing basis.

Read the full OHTAC Recommendation report

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.

Parathyroid Hormone: An Expert Consultation
July 2013 (PDF)

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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.

Health Technology Assessment at Health Quality Ontario

As part of our core function to promote health care supported by the best available evidence, we use established scientific methods to analyze the evidence for a wide range of health interventions, including diagnostic tests, medical devices, interventional and surgical procedures, health care programs and models of care. These analyses are informed by input from a range of individuals, including patients and clinical experts. The Ontario Health Technology Advisory Committee — a committee of the Health Quality Ontario board of directors — reviews the evidence and makes recommendations about whether health care interventions should be publicly funded or not. Draft recommendations are posted on the Health Quality Ontario website for feedback. Final recommendations are approved by our board of directors and then shared with the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. For more detailed information, visit our Evidence to Improve Care pages.


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