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2018 | 90(4) | 46-50
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Perioperative calcium and vitamin D supplementation in patients undergoing thyroidectomy – literature review

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Introduction: Postoperative hypocalcemia is a narrow but significant problem for patients undergoing thyroid and parathyroid surgery. It is the most common complication after thyroidectomy. It is associated with transient or permanent hypoparathyroidism. It could potentially be life-threatening for patients and increases the costs of hospitalization. The aim of the study was to evaluate the results of studies that routinely administrated calcium and/or vitamin D during the postoperative period. Materials and Methods: In this article, a literature review – 15 studies that used routine perioperative calcium (7 studies), vitamin D (2 studies) and calcium with vitamin D (11 studies) supplementation was performed. Supplementation effectiveness in prevention of postoperative hypocalcemia was compared to no prophylaxis in 10 studies. Five studies compared the effect of combined administration (calcium and vitamin D) to calcium alone. The number of papers dealing with this problem is not particularly high. Results: Supplementation significantly decreased the rate of laboratory and symptomatic hypocalcemia. It was also effective in reducing the severity of symptoms. The combination of calcium with vitamin D was the most effective strategy. No hypercalcemia or parathyroid hormone inhibition was observed in the supplemented groups. Routine supplementation was less expensive than performing laboratory tests in the course of treatment of hypocalcemia. Conclusions: The results of analyzed studies showed the clinical and economic advantage of routine perioperative prophylactic supplementation of vitamin D and/or calcium as compared to no prophylaxis. However, the majority of studies showed a significant range of variability in patients’ characteristics. Numerous studies did not evaluate the preoperative 25-hydroxycholecalciferol level – a risk factor for postoperative hypocalcemia. Discussion: The use of routine prophylactic supplementation of calcium and vitamin D in the perioperative period can be useful in everyday clinical practice. Further research is needed to draw clear guidelines regarding prophylactic calcium and vitamin D therapy for patients after thyroidectomy.
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