MATERIALS AND METHODS: Retrospective data were obtained for 36 patients with CKD stage 4 and 5 after parathyroid surgery, correlating albumin-corrected serum calcium with the infusion rate of calcium gluconate. Calcium flux was characterised along with excursions out of the target calcium range of 2 to 3 mmol/L. With this data, an improved titration regimen was constructed.
RESULTS: Mean peak efflux rate (PER) from the extracellular calcium pool was 2.97 mmol/h occurring 26.6 hours postoperatively. Peak calcium efflux tended to occur later in cases of severe POH. Eighty-one per cent of patients had excursions outside of the target calcium range of 2 to 3 mmol/L. Mean time of onset for hypocalcaemia was 2 days postoperatively. Hypocalcaemia was transient in 25% and persistent in 11% of patients.
CONCLUSION: A simple titration regimen was constructed in which a 10% calcium gluconate infusion was started at 4.5 mL/h when serum calcium was <2 mmol/L, then increased to 6.5 mL/h and finally to 9.0 mL/h if calcium continued falling. Preoperative oral calcium and calcitriol doses were maintained. Blood testing was done 6-hourly, but when a higher infusion rate was needed, 4-hourly blood testing was preferred. Monitoring was discontinued if no hypocalcaemia developed in the fi rst 4 days after surgery. If hypocalcaemia persisted 6 days after surgery, then the infusion was stopped with further monitoring for 24 hours.