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Case Reports in Endocrinology
Volume 2011, Article ID 370583, 5 pages
Case Report

Life-Threatening Hypocalcemia following Subtotal Parathyroidectomy in a Patient with Renal Failure and Previous Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass Surgery

1Section of Endcrinology, Department of Medicine, Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, IL 60612, USA
2Section of Nephrology, Department of Medicine, Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, IL 60612, USA

Received 10 September 2011; Accepted 2 October 2011

Academic Editors: L. Meyer and N. Sakane

Copyright © 2011 Betsy Palal et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Background. Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGB) can result in calcium and vitamin D deficiency. Parathyroid surgery carries the risk of immediate and long-term hypocalcemia. Methods and Results. We describe a 54-year-old woman with history of end-stage renal disease and gastric bypass surgery who developed calciphylaxis requiring a 3.5-gland parathyroidectomy. Seven weeks later, she presented with weakness, perioral numbness, leg cramps, a positive Chvostek's sign, hypotension, prolonged QT-interval, and serum calcium of 5.4 mg/dL. Oral and intravenous calcium, calcitriol, and high calcium bath hemodialysis were given. She required 18 days of intravenous calcium and an outpatient maintenance regimen of calcitriol 6 mcg/day, calcium carbonate 8 grams/day, calcium citrate 1.2 grams/day, and ergocalciferol 50,000 IU/week. Conclusion. The patient's life-threatening prolonged hypocalcemia and large requirements of calcium and calcitriol were due to a combination of malabsorption, hypoparathyroidism, and renal failure. Special considerations should be given to bariatric surgery patients undergoing neck exploration.