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Hyperacute fatal course in a hypercalcemic crisis

Published on: 20th January, 2021

OCLC Number/Unique Identifier: 8899339891

A 39-year-old woman, with a not significant past medical history, entered the Emergency Department complaining about nausea, vomiting, constipation, anorexia, deep asthenia, and diffuse muscle aches with cramps. She referred sporadic diarrhea (one episode) the day before and a worsening headache in the past three days; she also complained about polyuria and polydipsia not investigated for one year. The clinical examination was not significant, apart from the evidence of skin and mucosal dryness, tachycardia, and diffuse abdominal pain. The laboratory tests revealed hypokalemia and elevated beta-human chorionic gonadotropin (β-hCG) plasma levels. An ultrasound abdominal imaging was consistent with kidney lithiasis. Suspecting a hyperemesis gravidarum in a patient with kidney lithiasis, a rehydrating therapy was administered as long as potassium reintegration. During the hospital stay, the patient became drowsy. A haemogasanalysis revealed very high calcium values: 3,379 mmol/L (n.v. 1,120-1,320 mmol/L). Lab tests confirmed very high levels of calcium 21,1 mg/dL (n.v. 9-10,5 mg/dL), as long as increased parathormone (PTH) > 3000 pg/mL (normal values 14-65 pg/mL), and hypokalemia (3,2 mEq/L n.v. 3,50 – 4,50). Ultrasound exam of the neck revealed the presence of a left parathyroid nodule measuring 2,5 x 1,6 cm. Before having time to start an appropriate therapy, the patient died.
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