Low calcium level - infants

Definition

Calcium is a mineral in the body. It is needed for strong bones and teeth. Calcium also helps the heart, nerves, muscles, and other body systems work well.

A low blood calcium level is called hypocalcemia. This article discusses low blood calcium level in infants.

Causes

A healthy baby most often has very careful control of blood calcium level.

A low calcium level in the blood is more likely to occur in newborns, more commonly in those who were born too early (preemies). Common causes of hypocalcemia in a newborn include:

There are also some rare illnesses that can lead to low calcium level. These include:

Symptoms

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 most often made when a blood test shows that the infant's calcium level is low.

Treatment

The baby may get extra calcium, if needed.

Outlook (Prognosis)

Problems with low calcium level in newborns or premature infants most often do not continue long-term.


Review Date: 10/18/2017
Reviewed By: Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

This information should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. © 1997- 2007 A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.