Health Information

Hypocalcemia - infants

Hypocalcemia - infants


Low calcium level - infants

Hypocalcemia is an abnormally low blood calcium level. This article discusses low blood calcium level in infants.

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  • Causes

    Calcium is a salt that helps the heart and muscles work. A healthy baby usually has very careful control of blood calcium level.

    Hypocalcemia is more likely to occur in newborns, especially in those who were born too early (preemies). Common causes of hypocalcemia in a newborn include:

    • Certain medications
    • Diabetes in the birth mother
    • Episodes of very low oxygen levels
    • Infection
    • Stress caused by serious illness

    There are also some rare illnesses that can lead to low calcium level, such as DiGeorge syndrome and congenital hypoparathyroidism.

  • Symptoms

    Babies with hypocalcemia often have no symptoms. Sometimes, babies with low calcium levels are jittery or have tremors or twitching. Rarely, they have seizures.

    These babies may also have a slow heart rate and low blood pressure.

  • Exams and Tests

    Diagnosis is usually made when a blood test shows that the infant's calcium level is low.

  • Treatment

    The baby may get extra calcium, if needed.

  • Outlook (Prognosis)

    Problems with low calcium level in newborns or premature infants usually do not continue long-term.

Related Information

  Premature infant...    


Review Date: 12/4/2013  

Reviewed By: Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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