MedSchool: Ace Your OSCEsThe Medical Company
GET - On the App Store


April 15th, 2020


  • Look For

  • Total calcium >2.60 mmol/L
  • Ionised calcium >1.35 mmol/L


  • Causes of Hypercalcaemia

  • Malignancy - local osteolysis, humoral hypercalcaemia of malignancy, multiple myeloma
  • Hyperparathyroidism (primary / secondary / tertiary)
  • Endocrine - thyrotoxicosis, Addison's disease
  • Granulomatous disease - sarcoidosis, tuberculosis
  • Prolonged immobilisation
  • Drugs - calcium supplements, vitamin D, vitamin A, thiazides, lithium, oestrogens, anti-oestrogens, progestins
  • Total parenteral nutrition (TPN)
  • Familial hypercalcaemia-hypercalciuria (FHH)

Clinical Features

  • Signs and Symptoms

  • Renal ('stones') - nephrolithiasis, nephrocalcinosis, nephrogenic diabetes insipidus
  • GI ('groans') - nausea, reflux, peptic ulcers, pancreatitis, constipation
  • CNS ('moans') - lethargy, depression, confusion, memory loss, coma
  • MSK ('bones') - osteopaenia, bone pain, pathologic fractures
  • Cardiovascular - hypertension, shortened QT


  • Further Investigations

  • Check the patient's PTH
  • If not elevated - check the PTH-related peptide (PTHrp), 25-hydroxy-vitamin D and 1,25-dihydroxy-vitamin D levels
  • Elevated alkaline phosphatase (ALP) is suggestive of local osteolysis
  • Specific tests such as TFTs, cortisol and myeloma screen may be useful
  • Approach
Next Page
Want more info like this?
  • Your electronic clinical medicine handbook
  • Guides to help pass your exams
  • Tools every medical student needs
  • Quick diagrams to have the answers, fast
  • Quizzes to test your knowledge
Sign Up Now

Snapshot: Initialising...