What is the role of hypocalcemia in pancreatitis?

Updated: Aug 08, 2019
  • Author: Manish Suneja, MD, FASN, FACP; Chief Editor: Vecihi Batuman, MD, FASN  more...
  • Print
Answer

Pancreatitis can be associated with tetany and hypocalcemia. It is caused primarily by precipitation of calcium soaps in the abdominal cavity, but glucagon-stimulated calcitonin release and decreased PTH secretion may play a role.

When the pancreas is damaged, free fatty acids are generated by the action of pancreatic lipase. Insoluble calcium salts are present in the pancreas, and the free fatty acids avidly chelate the salts, resulting in calcium deposition in the retroperitoneum. In addition, hypoalbuminemia may be a part of the clinical picture, resulting in a reduction in total serum calcium. In patients with concomitant alcohol abuse, a poor nutritional intake of calcium and vitamin D, as well as accompanying hypomagnesemia, may predispose these patients to hypocalcemia. [19]


Did this answer your question?
Additional feedback? (Optional)
Thank you for your feedback!