Preferred Sample Type

Parathyroid Hormone (PTH)

Suitable Specimen Types

  • EDTA Whole Blood
1 ml whole blood, 1 FULL paediatric EDTA (500mL) minimun

Sample Processing in Laboratory

Send immediately

Sample Preparation

Plasma must be separated and analysed within 24 hours of sample collection.

Turnaround Time

4 days

Sample Stability

Plasma must be separated from cells within 24 hours of collection. Store separated plasma at -20°C if analysis is delayed longer than 2 days

Parathyroid Hormone (PTH)

General Information

Parathyroid hormone (PTH) is formed in the parathyroid glands and secreted into the blood stream. Intact PTH consists of a single polypeptide chain containing 84 amino acids and has a molecular weight of approx. 9500 daltons. The biologically active N-terminal fragment has a half-life of only a few minutes.

Selective measurement of the (mainly) intact parathyroid hormone permits direct ascertainment of the secretory activity of the parathyroid glands. PTH, together with vitamin D and calcitonin, brings about mobilization of calcium and phosphate from the skeletal system and increases the uptake of calcium in the intestine and the excretion of phosphate via the kidneys. The constancy of the blood calcium level is ensured by the interaction of PTH and calcitonin. The secretion of PTH is inhibited by high calcium concentrations and promoted by low calcium concentrations. Parathyroid gland disorders lead to elevated or depressed blood calcium levels (hypercalcaemia or hypocalcaemia) brought about by a change in the secretion of PTH.

Detection of subfunctioning parathyroid glands (hypoparathyroidism) requires the use of a highly sensitive test in order to be able to measure PTH levels well below normal.

Hyperfunctioning of the parathyroid glands results in an increased secretion of PTH (hyperparathyroidism). Primary causes are adenomas in the parathyroid glands. In secondary hyperparathyroidism the blood calcium level is low as a result of other pathological states (e.g. vitamin D deficiency).


Patient Preparation


If an urgent PTH is required, please contact the Duty Biochemist (bleep 2506) or the Duty Consultant to arrange.


Haemolysed specimens are not suitable for analysis.

** From Monday 21st December HEFT will only be measuring PTH by the Abbott Architect method ** ** ** 



Reference Range

Abbott PTH Adults: 1.6 - 7.2 pmol/L (Source: Abbott)

Roche PTH Adults: 1.6 - 6.9 pmol/L (Source : Roche Cobas)

PTH should be interpreted in the context of calcium and albumin measurements. A PTH value inside reference limits in the presence of elevated corrected calcium values may indicate PTH excess.




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The Trust Laboratories at Heartlands Hospital, Good Hope Hospital and Solihull Hospital were awarded UKAS (United Kingdom Accreditation Service) accreditation to the internationally recognised ISO 15189 standard in May 2015. For a list of accredited tests and other information please visit the test database
Tests not appearing on this scope are either under consideration or in the process of accreditation and so currently remain outside of our scope of accreditation. However, these tests have been validated to the same high standard as accredited tests and are performed by the same trained and competent staff.

For further information contact Louise Fallon, Quality Manager, 0121 424 1235