Introduction: Indocyanine green (ICG) angiography is the ‘real-time intraoperative imaging’ technique used to reduce the chances of hypoparathyroidism in post-thyroidectomy patients. In our study, the authors predicted the risk of early post-thyroidectomy hypocalcemia by intraoperative evaluation of parathyroid gland perfusion by ICG angiography.

Materials and methods: In patients who underwent total thyroidectomy, ICG angiography was done using the SPY PHI imaging system (Stryker). Post-thyroid specimen removal, scoring of parathyroids was done in spy contrast mode. All 4 or <4 visualized parathyroids were scored for vascularity with the highest score of 8. Serum ionized calcium was done 6 h postsurgery and on the morning and evening of postoperative days 1 and 2. Calcium supplements were given to only those who developed clinical or severe biochemical hypocalcemia.

Results: Out of 60, postoperative hypocalcemia was noted in 41 patients. Total ICG score ≤5 was seen in 34 patients, out of which 28 developed postoperative hypocalcemia showing PPV 82.3% and diagnostic accuracy of 68.3% while iPTH (4.28 pmol/l) showed PPV 76.7 and diagnostic accuracy 70 %. In eight patients, none of the glands was scored as 2 (White) and all these patients developed hypocalcemia requiring calcium infusion.

Conclusion: The absence of visualization of at least 1 well-perfused (score 2) gland on ICG angiography is highly predictive of hypocalcemia and the majority of patients with total ICG score ≤5 developed hypocalcemia in the immediate postoperative period. ICG is a good predictor of the absence of hypoparathyroidism after thyroidectomy and is comparable to iPTH in the prediction of post-thyroidectomy hypocalcemia.

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