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Cases J. 2009 Sep 16;2:8198. doi: 10.1186/1757-1626-0002-0000008198.

Milk-alkali syndrome in a middle-aged woman after ingesting large doses of calcium carbonate: a case report.

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Department of Medicine, University of Tennessee, College of Medicine, 960 East Third Street, Suite 208, Chattanooga, TN 37403, USA.



Most cases of hypercalcaemia are secondary to malignancy or primary hyperparathyroidism. Here we report a case of hypercalcaemia that we have attributed to milk-alkali syndrome.


A 51-year-old Caucasian woman with a past history of thyroidectomy and parathyroidectomy secondary to thyroid cancer developed an altered mental state and had an extremely high calcium concentration of 22.8 mg/dl (5.7 mmol/l). Investigations included work up for malignancy and hyperparathyroidism. However, the hypercalcaemia was attributed to ingestion of large doses of calcium carbonate, leading to milk-alkali syndrome. She was managed with intravenous fluids and withdrawal of calcium carbonate. The patient responded well to treatment, with normalization of the calcium concentration and clinical improvement.


We present this case to remind clinicians of the importance of detailed history taking and of milk-alkali syndrome as a cause of hypercalcemia.

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