Hypocalcemia complicating acute leukemia

David S. Alberts, Arthur A. Serpick, W. Leigh Thompson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Eighteen of 54 adults with acute leukemia developed severe hypocalcemia during a 20 month period. Hypocalcemia (mean lowest serum calcium 6.3 mg/100 ml with a range of 4.1 to 7.0 mg/100 ml) lasted 2‐29 days and was symptomatic in all but one patient. Six patients were hypocalcemic at the time of death, 5 died within 1 week of hypocalcemia, and 2 had antibiotic‐induced respiratory arrest. All patients had severe infections; 17 of 18 were with gram‐negative organisms. No patient had severe azotemia, diarrhea, alkalosis, or hypoalbuminemia. Hypophosphatemia was seen in 14 patients, suggesting no hypoparathyroidism. The serum calcium of patients with acute leukemia should be measured frequently, especially when they have infection. Hypocalcemia is a sign of poor prognosis and should signal the need for careful observation of ventilation, caution in the use of aminoglycoside antibiotics, and vigorous attempts at calcium administration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)289-295
Number of pages7
JournalMedical and Pediatric Oncology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1975
Externally publishedYes


  • acute leukemia
  • gram negative infections
  • gram negative sepsis
  • hypocalcemia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


Dive into the research topics of 'Hypocalcemia complicating acute leukemia'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this