What calculations or corrections are required to adjust for abnormal albumin levels in hypercalcemia?

Updated: Oct 03, 2018
  • Author: Mahendra Agraharkar, MD, MBBS, FACP, FASN; Chief Editor: Vecihi Batuman, MD, FASN  more...
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Answer

For every 1-g/dL drop in serum albumin below 4 g/dL, measured serum calcium decreases by 0.8 mg/dL. Therefore, to correct for an albumin level of less than 4 g/dL, one should add 0.8 to the measured value of calcium for each 1-g/dL decrease in albumin. Without this correction, an abnormally high serum calcium level may appear to be normal.

A patient with a serum calcium level of 10.3 mg/dL but an albumin level of 3 g/dL appears to have a normal serum calcium level. However, when corrected for the low albumin, the real serum calcium value is 11.1 mg/dL (10.3 + 0.8), a more obviously abnormal level. Alternatively, serum free (ionized) calcium levels can be directly measured, negating the need for correction for albumin. Corrected calcium can be calculated using the following formula:

Corrected Ca = ([4 - plasma albumin in g/dL] X 0.8 + serum calcium)


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