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July 9, 1932


Author Affiliations

Sidell, Ill.

JAMA. 1932;99(2):115-116. doi:10.1001/jama.1932.27410540002009a

Tetany, or the spasmophilic diathesis, occurs chiefly in infants with some nutritional disturbance. Etiologically, it is looked on by some as a phase of status thymicolymphaticus. There is a definite constitutional predisposition to it. Some believe that it is a purely chemical deficiency due to a lack of guanidine and methylguanidine; others believe it to be a parathyroid dysfunction with a resulting calcium deficiency. According to Abt, the condition is seldom seen before the fourth month of infancy or after the third year. It is associated with a drop of blood calcium from 10 or 11 mg. per hundred cubic centimeters (normal) to 6 or 7 mg., with definite clinical symptoms, and complete recovery when the calcium content of the blood is restored to normal. It has been noted that few breast fed infants develop tetany and that most cases of this condition occur in bottle fed infants. Benjamin Kramer,