Hypocalcemia is an abnormally low blood calcium level. This article discusses low blood calcium level in infants.
Calcium is a salt that helps the heart and muscles work. A healthy baby usually has very careful control of blood calcium level.
Hypocalcemia is more likely to occur in newborns, especially in those who were born too early (preemies). Common causes of hypocalcemia in a newborn include:
Diabetes in the birth mother
Episodes of very low oxygen levels
Stress caused by serious illness
There are also some rare illnesses that can lead to low calcium level, such as DiGeorge syndrome and congenital hypoparathyroidism.
Babies with hypocalcemia often have no symptoms. Sometimes, babies with low calcium levels are jittery or have tremors or twitching. Rarely, they have seizures.
These babies may also have a slow heart rate and low blood pressure.
Exams and Tests
Diagnosis is usually made when a blood test shows that the infant's calcium level is low.
The baby may get extra calcium, if needed.
Problems with low calcium level in newborns or premature infants usually do not continue long-term.
Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.