Penile calciphylaxis: Analysis of risk factors and mortality

Edward Karpman, Sakti Das, Eric A Kurzrock

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

77 Scopus citations


Purpose: Penile calciphylaxis is a rare condition resulting in infection and gangrene. Most cases are associated with systemic calciphylaxis. The pathophysiology, diagnosis and management of penile calciphylaxis as a distinct entity have received little attention. We reviewed the literature to increase understanding of this disease. Materials and Methods: A retrospective review of the literature was performed after treating a case of penile calciphylaxis. Patient characteristics, presentation, serum chemistry studies, management and outcomes are reported. Results: A total of 34 cases of penile calciphylaxis were identified in the literature including our patient. Average patient age was 58 years. All patients had end stage renal disease, and diabetes mellitus was a co-morbidity in 76%. Additional areas of gangrene beyond the genitalia were found in two-thirds of patients. Average calcium phosphate product was 78.5 mg.2/dl.2 (range 20.6 to 52.5) and mean parathormone level was 553 pg./ml. (10 to 65). Parathyroidectomy was performed in 8 patients. All patients were treated with either local débridement/wound care or partial/total penectomy. Survival was better in patients who underwent parathyroidectomy (75%) than in those treated with local débridement or penectomy alone (28%). The overall mortality associated with this disease was 64% with a mean time to death of 2.5 months. Conclusions: Penile calciphylaxis is a result of medial calcification and fibrosis of blood vessels. The co-morbidity and mortality associated with this disease are extremely high. Secondary hyperparathyroidism and an increased calcium phosphate are characteristic and require aggressive medical management. Surgical management of penile lesions and parathormone is controversial. Our review suggests that parathyroidectomy may improve survival and that survival is independent of the type of local treatment for the penile lesions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2206-2209
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Urology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2003


  • Calciphylaxis
  • Gangrene
  • Necrosis
  • Penis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Urology


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