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J Pediatr. 1992 Nov;121(5 Pt 1):803-8.

Calcium therapy for calcitriol-resistant rickets.

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Department of Pediatrics, Rambam Medical Center, Haifa, Israel.


Ten patients with calcitriol-resistant rickets caused by a defect in the ligand-binding domain of the vitamin D receptor are described. Eight patients, 1.7 to 13.8 years of age, received high doses of elemental calcium (range, 0.4 to 1.4 gm/m2) through indwelling intracaval catheters for periods of 1.8 to 3.8 years. Two other patients, aged 1.1 and 2.2 years, were given oral calcium therapy as the sole mode of treatment. In five of the intravenously treated patients, oral calcium therapy was initiated after radiologic evidence of healing of the rickets. To maintain normal serum calcium concentration, the patients required daily doses of elemental calcium of 3.5 to 9 gm/m2 body surface area. Clinical improvement was observed within a week of the start of intravenous therapy, with disappearance of bone pain; several of the younger patients started to walk for the first time. Growth velocity increased within 2 to 3 months, from a pretreatment rate of -0.8 to -6.3 standard deviation score (SDS), to a posttreatment rate of +0.1 to +5.1 (SDS). Serum calcium, parathyroid hormone, phosphorus, and alkaline phosphatase values returned to normal within a year. Radiologic signs of healing occurred more rapidly in the intravenous treatment groups and in younger patients. Episodes of septicemia occurred frequently in those receiving parenteral therapy and required replacement of the catheter. We recommend that in the treatment of calcitriol-resistant rickets, oral calcium therapy be started at the youngest possible age, in doses to the limit of intestinal tolerance. When rickets is present, calcium should be infused through a large vessel in doses high enough to produce normocalcemia, normophosphatemia, and suppression of parathyroid hormone. Only after radiologic healing has been observed can oral calcium therapy be introduced.

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