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Definition of Tetany

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Tetany: A condition that is due usually to low blood calcium (hypocalcemia) and is characterized by spasms of the hands and feet, cramps, spasm of the voice box (larynx), and overactive neurological reflexes. Tetany is generally considered to result from very low calcium levels in the blood. However, tetany can also result from reduction in the ionized fraction of plasma calcium without marked hypocalcemia, as is the case in severe alkalosis (when the blood is highly alkaline).

Reviewed on 12/11/2018

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