Curr Opin Crit Care. 2023 Jul 4. doi: 10.1097/MCC.0000000000001059. Online ahead of print.
PURPOSE OF REVIEW: To better understand the established associations between hypocalcaemia and clinical outcomes, we synopsize the mechanisms involved in hypocalcaemia in the critically ill. We also provide an overview of the current evidence on managing hypocalcaemia in critical illness.
RECENT FINDINGS: Hypocalcaemia is reported to occur in 55-85% of ICU patients. It appears to be associated with poor outcomes. It appears to be associated with poor outcomes, but it may be a marker rather than a direct cause of disease severity. The recommendations to correct calcium in major bleeding are found on weak evidence and require further exploration by a randomized controlled trial (RCT). Calcium administration in cardiac arrest has shown no benefit and may provoke harm. In addition, no RCT has assessed the risks and benefits of calcium supplementation in critically ill hypocalcemic patients. Several recent studies conclude that it may even harm septic ICU patients. These observations are supported by evidence that septic patients using calcium channel blockers may have better outcomes.
SUMMARY: Hypocalcaemia is common in critically ill patients. Direct evidence that calcium supplementation improves their outcomes is lacking, and there is even some indication that it may be detrimental. Prospective studies are required to elucidate the risks and benefits, and the pathophysiological mechanisms involved.