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Saudi J Kidney Dis Transpl. 2019 Sep-Oct;30(5):1166-1170. doi: 10.4103/1319-2442.270275.

A case of advanced chronic kidney disease with severe hypocalcemia, how to safely manage and dialyze?

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Division of Nephrology and Renal Transplantation, King Abdulaziz Medical City, Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.


Patients often present with advanced chronic kidney disease (CKD) complicated with severe hypocalcemia that may be accompanied by electrocardiographic changes. The management of this kind of patients may require hemodialysis (HD). However, initiation of renal replacement therapy in this scenario needs special attention to avoid complications such as cardiac arrhythmias. A 22-year-old male presented to our emergency department with severe renal failure, hypocalcemia, hyperphosphatemia, severe acidosis, and QT prolongation on electrocardiography. The patient was kept in the emergency department under cardiac monitoring. He was started on IV calcium gluconate 1 g every 6 h aiming to increase his adjusted calcium level to 1.8 mmol/L. He subsequently received the first HD session with low blood flow, increased calcium, and decreased bicarbonate dialysate bath. There were no arrhythmias or hemodynamic instability. Intravenous calcium was discontinued; adjusted calcium improved progressively after dialysis and reached 1.9 mmol/L by the time of discharge and after receiving three sessions of HD. This case describes a not so infrequent presentation of advanced renal impairment with profound hypocalcemia, hyperphosphatemia in the setting of CKD-associated mineral bone disorder. Intravenous calcium administration may promote vascular and metastatic calcification, particularly with the coexistence of hyperphosphatemia, and hence, it is best avoided. There are no guidelines to direct initiating HD in this context. However, it appears that using a high calcium bath is prudent to minimize cardiovascular complications, particularly if there is the prolongation of the corrected QT interval on electrocardiography.

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