Other names: Parathyroid Hormone; Parathormone; Intact PTH

PTH (parathyroid hormone) is an important part of the feedback loop, which helps to regulate levels of calcium in the blood; calcium, magnesium, vitamin D and phosphates also form part of the loop. If the process is disturbed, this can affect the levels of calcium in the blood.

Why is the test used?

The test is used to try and determine the cause of high or low levels of calcium in the blood; the test can distinguish between problems related to the parathyroid and those not associated with the parathyroid gland. The test may also be used for patients who are receiving treatment for a parathyroid condition.

The test is usually ordered when the patient has an abnormal calcium test result and the patient is suffering from symptoms of hypercalcaemia, including tiredness, sickness, thirst and abdominal pain or symptoms of hypocalcaemia, including muscle cramps and tingling in the fingers.

The test may also be ordered once a patient has started a course of treatment to assess how the treatment is working.

How is the test carried out?

The test is done by collecting and analysing a sample of the patient’s blood; the sample is taken from a vein in the arm using a needle; the blood is drawn out and collected in a syringe. Once the sample has been taken, it will be bottled, labelled and sent to the laboratory for analysis.

What do the test results mean?

The result of the PTH test must be analysed alongside calcium test results. If levels of both calcium and PTH are normal, this usually means that the body in maintaining the levels of calcium effectively.

If levels of PTH are lower than normal, this may indicate that the patient has hypercalcaemia; this may be associated with hypoparathyroidism.

If levels of calcium are low and levels of PTH are normal, this indicates that the body is not regulating calcium levels effectively; the level of PTH should be higher in order to boost the levels of calcium.

Specific Blood Tests

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