fréquency of hypocalcemia at emergency unit of University the Teaching Hospital of Yaoundé

Dimitri Walah (
Physiologic science and Biochemistry, Faculty of medicine, the University of Yaounde 1
June, 2014


Calcium is the essential component of bones and it play an important physiologic function especially in coagulation and muscular excitability. Ionised calcium is the biologic active form. Calcium is regulated by three hormons parathormone, vitamin D and calcitonin. We talk of hypocalcemia when the concentration of total calcium is inferior to 85 mg/l after correction for albuminemia. The goal of our study was to determine the frequency of hypocalcemia at emergency unit of CHU of Yaoundé.
This was a cross sectional descriptive and analytic study which was conducted from January to April 2014 in emergency unit of University Teaching Hospital of Yaoundé. Our sample was consecutive. Our data was constituted of patients admitted in emergency unit, who had given their consent, with an age superior to 16 years and who have been hospitalised over 12 hours. Patients in a coma, having aphasia or whose files are incomplete were not included in our sample. Patients selected for our study were submitted to a complete clinical exam including questionnaire and physical exam followed by blood sample which was collected on dry tube in a fasting state and sent to Biochemistry laboratory of CHUY for calcemia and albuminemia test. Hypocalcemia was considered if serum calcium after correction for albumin concentration was inferior to 85 mg/l. Patients who report a consumption of less than two daily portions of dairy product were considered as having food deficit. People who didn’t present symptoms or physical sign of hypocalcemia were considered as asymptomatic. Analysis of data was done with Epi info version 3.5.4 and Microsoft Office Excel 2010.
We recruited 91 patients (52 men and 39 women with age average of 49.51 ± 19.79). The average of calcemia was 88.07 mg/l with ranging values from 59.8 to 114.6 mg/l ; 34 patients (37.4 %) had confirmed hypocalcemia after correction for albuminemia.
Hypocalcemia’s manifestations in our study was cramp in 47.1 % of sick persons, tingling in 35.3 % and convulsion in 5.9 % of patients. Chvostek’s sign was present in 32.4 % of patients and Trousseau’s sign in 41.2 %. The main etiologies was insufficient intake, renal insufficiency and hypomagnesemia. Hypocalcemia was symptomatic in 58.8 % of individuals.
Hypocalcemia is frequent in emergency ward and could be due to insufficient consumption of milk’s product by our population.