Poor Performance of Albumin or Protein-Adjusted Plasma Calcium to Diagnose Dyscalcemia in Hospitalized Patients: A Confirmatory Study in a General Internal Medicine Department - Sorbonne Université Access content directly
Journal Articles La Revue de Médecine Interne Year : 2022

Poor Performance of Albumin or Protein-Adjusted Plasma Calcium to Diagnose Dyscalcemia in Hospitalized Patients: A Confirmatory Study in a General Internal Medicine Department

Poor performance of albumin or protein-adjusted plasma calcium to diagnose dyscalcemia in hospitalized patients: A confirmatory study in a general internal medicine department.

Abstract

Introduction: Hypo- and hypercalcemia are common and some causes require urgent diagnosis and treatment. Measurement of ionized calcium is the reference test to diagnose calcium disorders but total calcium adjusted for protein or albumin concentration is more often used. Methods: Patients hospitalised in a general internal medicine department from September 2013 to December 2015 who had a total plasma calcium concentration and a serum albumin or protein concentration measured within 24h of a ionized calcium blood measurement were included. Total calcium was adjusted for protein or albumin concentration using widely used formulas and compared to ionized calcium as the gold standard. Results: Among 210 included patients, 46 (22%) had hypocalcemia, 124 (59%) normocalcemia and 40 (19%) hypercalcemia according to ionized calcium concentration. Total calcium had 50% sensitivity and 95% specificity to diagnose hypocalcemia and a 93% sensitivity and 89% specificity to diagnose hypercalcemia. Adjusting total calcium for protein or albumin concentrations did not increase and sometimes decreased diagnostic accuracy. Conclusion: Total calcium, with or without albumin/protein adjustment, is poorly sensitive to screen for hypocalcemia. Unadjusted total calcium is as sensitive as protein- or albumin-adjusted total calcium to screen for hypercalcemia. These data argue against the use of albumin- or protein-adjusted calcium. Ionized calcium measurement should be performed to confirm dyscalcemia in patients with abnormal total calcium concentration and to rule out hypocalcemia in patients with total calcium concentration in the lower range of normal values.
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hal-03888681 , version 1 (08-12-2022)

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Marion Alhenc-Gelas, Guillaume Lefevre, Claude Bachmeyer, Pauline M'Bappe, S. Ouahabi, et al.. Poor Performance of Albumin or Protein-Adjusted Plasma Calcium to Diagnose Dyscalcemia in Hospitalized Patients: A Confirmatory Study in a General Internal Medicine Department. La Revue de Médecine Interne, 2022, 43 (4), pp.206--211. ⟨10.1016/j.revmed.2021.11.006⟩. ⟨hal-03888681⟩
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