Hungry bone syndrome (HBS) refers to the rapid, profound, and prolonged hypocalcaemia associated with hypophosphatemia and hypomagnesaemia, and is exacerbated by suppressed parathyroid hormone (PTH) levels, which follows parathyroidectomy in patients with severe primary hyperparathyroidism (PHPT) and preoperative high bone turnover. [ 1]
This report concerns a dialysed patient who underwent surgical treatment for secondary refractory hyperparathyroidism. Haemodialysis was carried out pre-operatively, and subsequently, a total parathyroidectomy with auto-transplantation of parathyroid tissue in the sternocleidomastoid muscle (SCM) was performed. Rapid and progressive hypocalcaemia symptoms developed during the second day postoperatively. Acute cardiac symptoms with tachyarrhythmia, haemodynamic instability and finally asystole occurred, which required cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). The ionic calcium level was 2.2 mg/dL being consistent with a diagnosis of HBS. A second cardiac arrest unresponsive to CPR followed an initial period of normal sinus rhythm. Death ensued shortly after. Before death, the ionic calcium was 3.1 mg/dL.
HBS, after parathyroidectomy in patients with secondary hyperparathyroidism (SHPT), may be severe, prolonged and sometimes fatal. Generally, HBS symptomatology is that of a mild hypocalcaemia. It can, however, include heart rhythm disturbances with haemodynamic alterations requiring intensive care measurements and even cardiopulmonary resuscitation. A close clinical and laboratory post-parathyroidectomy monitoring of dialysed patients is of the utmost importance.