How are calcium levels corrected in patients with hypocalcemia and low serum albumin levels?

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

Each 1 g/dL reduction in the serum albumin concentration will lower the total calcium concentration by approximately 0.8 mg/dL without affecting the ionized calcium concentration. Thus, the calcium level should be corrected in patients with low serum albumin levels, using the following formula:

Corrected calcium (mg/dL) = measured total Ca (mg/dL) + 0.8 (4.0 - serum albumin [g/dL]), where 4.0 represents the average albumin level.

Note that calcium correction based on the above calculation may be inaccurate, particularly in geriatric patients. Ionized calcium levels should be obtained if hypocalcemia is considered to be clinically significant.


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