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Parathyroid Hormone

Risks

There is very little chance of a problem from having blood sample taken from a vein.

  • You may get a small bruise at the site. You can lower the chance of bruising by keeping pressure on the site for several minutes.
  • In rare cases, the vein may become swollen after the blood sample is taken. This problem is called phlebitis. A warm compress can be used several times a day to treat this.
  • Ongoing bleeding can be a problem for people with bleeding disorders. Aspirin, warfarin (Coumadin), and other blood-thinning medicines can make bleeding more likely. If you have bleeding or clotting problems, or if you take blood-thinning medicine, tell your doctor before your blood sample is taken.

Results

A parathyroid hormone (PTH) blood test measures the level of parathyroid hormone in the blood. The test is used to help identify hyperparathyroidism, to find the cause of abnormal calcium levels, or to check the status of chronic kidney disease.

Normal

The normal values listed here—called a reference range—are just a guide. These ranges vary from lab to lab, and your lab may have a different range for what's normal. Your lab report should contain the range your lab uses. Also, your doctor will evaluate your results based on your health and other factors. This means that a value that falls outside the normal values listed here may still be normal for you or your lab.

Results are usually available in 1 to 2 days.

Parathyroid hormone1
Normal:

10–65 pg/mL or 10–65 ng/L

High values

High PTH levels may be caused by:

  • A parathyroid gland growth (hyperplasia) or a parathyroid tumor.
  • A low level of calcium in the blood. A low blood calcium level can be caused by kidney disease, kidney failure, severe vitamin D deficiency, or an inability of the intestines to absorb calcium from food.
  • Some types of cancer, such as of the lung, kidney, pancreatic, or ovarian cancer.

Low values

Low PTH levels may be caused by:

What Affects the Test

Reasons you may not be able to have the test or why the results may not be helpful include:

  • Taking medicine that raises PTH levels. These include lithium, furosemide, rifampin, anticonvulsants, thiazide diuretics, and medicines that contain phosphate.
  • Taking medicine that lowers PTH levels. These include cimetidine (Tagamet) and propranolol (Inderal, Innopran).
  • Being pregnant or breast-feeding.
  • Having high cholesterol or triglyceride levels.
  • Having a scan that uses a radioactive tracer within 1 week of PTH test.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: April 05, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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