21 Jan After Thyroid Removal, Patients with Low Magnesium at Greater Risk of Low Calcium
MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Jonathon O. Russell, MD
Director of Endoscopic and Robotic Thyroid and Parathyroid Surgery
Assistant Professor of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery
Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?
Response: Thyroidectomy is one of the most common procedures in North America, and is generally very safe. One of the most dreaded complications is postoperative hypocalcemia because of damage that can be sustained to the parathyroid glands.
We examined the relationship between magnesium levels and postoperative calcium levels to see if there was an association.
MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?
Response: What we found is that patients who have low magnesium levels are at a much greater risk of having low calcium levels as well.
MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?
Response: The most obvious take away is that correcting the magnesium levels can help patients to normalize calcium levels due to the synergy between the two. On a deeper level, it leads to questions about whether or not there are some patients who are inherently more at risk.
Finally, the ideal would be if there was something that we could do preoperatively to help patients avoid this risk.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?
Response: We are in the process of crafting a study now to determine if supplementing magnesium levels helps to decrease the risk of hypocalcemia postoperatively. More studies will certainly follow!
MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add? Any disclosures?
Response: No disclosures, but one key thing with any paper like this is that it could all just be an association. Until we understand more fully why these patients are more likely to have hypocalcemia and until we can use this information to help patients, it is interesting but does not change our standard of care.
Liu RH, Razavi CR, Chang H, et al. Association of Hypocalcemia and Magnesium Disorders With Thyroidectomy in Commercially Insured Patients. JAMA Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. Published online January 09, 2020. doi:10.1001/jamaoto.2019.4193
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