Calciphylaxis in the absence of end-stage renal disease

Academic Article


  • Objective: To report a case of calciphylaxis in the absence of renal failure in a patient with secondary hyperparathyroidism and low calcium/ phosphorus product, in whom total parathyroidectomy resulted in relief of pain and healing of ulcerations. Methods: We present the clinical, laboratory, and pathologic findings in a 62-year-old woman with calciphylaxis in the absence of end-stage renal disease. Results: A 62-year-old woman presented with painful nonhealing bilateral calf ulcerations. Pathology examination of tissue specimens from surgical d√©bridement revealed intravascular calcification, consistent with calciphylaxis. Laboratory investigation revealed normal renal function; however, hypocalcemia and hypophosphatemia were present - a corrected serum calcium level of 7.5 mg/dL (normal, 8.5 to 10.2) and a serum phosphorus value of 1.0 mg/dL (normal, 2.5 to 4.5). These abnormalities were likely due to vitamin D deficiency, evidenced by a 25-hydroxyvitamin D level of 14 ng/mL, which provoked an elevation of the serum parathyroid hormone (PTH) concentration, documented by an intact PTH of 213 pg/mL (normal, 15 to 65) and a whole PTH (1-84 PTH) of 70.6 pg/mL (normal, 7 to 36). Her quality of life was severely impaired, not only by the ulcerations but also by intractable pain that necessitated epidural analgesia during the hospitalization. The patient underwent total parathyroidectomy and transcervical thymectomy, with cryopreservation of parathyroid tissue. One year after the parathyroidectomy, the patient had no recurrence of calciphylaxis. Conclusion: This case suggests that despite the potential complex pathophysiologic aspects of calciphylaxis, even in the absence of both renal failure and an elevated calcium/phosphorus product, early parathyroidectomy in patients with appreciably increased PTH levels may improve wound healing and diminish pain. ¬© 2006 AACE.
  • Published In

  • Endocrine Practice  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Couto FM; Chen H; Blank RD; Drezner MK
  • Start Page

  • 406
  • End Page

  • 410
  • Volume

  • 12
  • Issue

  • 4