Friday, December 14, 2012

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Chvostek's and Trousseau's Signs

A 38-year-old man presented to the emergency department with facial paresthesias and upper-extremity muscle cramping. His symptoms were progressive, beginning as mild paresthesias on postoperative day 1 by the time he presented, they had been getting worse for about 24 hours. His medical history was noteworthy only for papillary thyroid carcinoma, for which he had undergone a total thyroidectomy 2 days earlier. Physical examination revealed apparent Chvostek's sign (Figure 1A and Video 1) and Trousseau's sign (Figure 1B and Video 2), a result of postsurgical acquired hypoparathyroidism. His total calcium level was 5.8 mg per deciliter (normal range, 8.4 to 10.3) (1.45 mmol per liter [2.1 to 2.6]), his free calcium level was 1.68 mEq per liter (normal range, 2.24 to 2.64) (0.84 mmol per liter [1.12 to 1.32]), and his serum phosphate level was 6.6 mg per deciliter (normal range, 2.7 to 4.5) (2.13 mmol per liter [0.87 to 1.45]). The parathyroid hormone level was 7 pg per milliliter (normal range, 15 to 65).