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July 23, 1938


Author Affiliations


From the Department of Medicine, Washington University School of Medicine, and the Barnes Hospital.

JAMA. 1938;111(4):304-307. doi:10.1001/jama.1938.02790300014005

Parathyroid tetany is an infrequent but serious occurrence following operations on the thyroid gland. Although modern surgery has reduced its incidence in large clinics to figures ranging from 1.5 to 0.5 per cent,1 the actual number of cases has become larger because of the increasing frequency of operations on the thyroid and parathyroid glands. From one institution as many as eighty-eight cases were reported during a six year period.2 Although the symptoms in many cases are temporary, chronic tetany develops in a number of patients because of removal of or permanent injury to the parathyroid glands or to their blood supply. Too little attention has been paid to the chronic and latent cases and therapeutic efforts have been directed chiefly toward the relief of the more dramatic acute symptoms. A review of the measures used to alleviate chronic tetany reveals their inadequacy. The intravenous use of calcium salts

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