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April 1982

An Unusual Cardiac Arrhythmia Caused by Hypocalcemia

Author Affiliations

Louisiana State University School of Medicine New Orleans

Am J Dis Child. 1982;136(4):372-373. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1982.03970400090028

Early-onset hypocalcemia occurs frequently in the premature infant. In one study, 50% of premature infants had serum calcium levels below 8 mg/dL.1 In another study, 30% of low-birth-weight infants had serum calcium levels below 7 mg/dL.2 The large majority of these infants are asymptomatic.

In 1922, Carter and Andrus3 described abnormal QT intervals in association with hypocalcemia, and this association was subsequently described by White and Mudd.4 Because of the frequency of low serum calcium levels in the newborn, it is important for the clinician to be aware of the various manifestations occurring as a result of hypocalcemia so that proper therapy can be instituted promptly. We describe here a premature infant with, to our knowledge, a previously undescribed ECG manifestation of hypocalcemia that disappeared completely with calcium replacement.

Report of a Case.—A 1,110-g girl was born to a 27-year-old gravida 2, para 3,