Immobilization-related hypercalcaemia is an uncommon but important condition being associated not infrequently with both urolithiasis and osteoporosis. In this study 5 patients who had been immobilized for a mean of 3 months and had a mean adjusted serum calcium of 3.15 mmol/l were treated with doses of intravenous pamidronate ranging between 10 mg and 45 mg. All patients became normocalcaemic by day 3. Patients 1-3 mobilized shortly after treatment and remained normocalcaemic. In those patients who continued to be immobile hypercalcaemia recurred after an interval of several weeks. Retreatment with pamidronate again resulted in normocalcaemia. No side effects were noted with treatment. All of the patients studied had increased rates of bone resorption as shown by elevated urinary hydroxyproline/creatinine ratios (median:range) of 0.101:0.045-0.180 (normal less than 0.033) and elevated calcium/creatinine ratios of 2.50:0.69-3.63 (normal less than 0.50). None of the patients in this study had any of the usual risk factors for developing immobilization-related hypercalcaemia though all 5 patients had problems with significant sepsis which we postulate may have lead to cytokine release which in turn contributed to the development of hypercalcaemia. We conclude that pamidronate (at doses as low as 10 mg) is safe and effective in immobilization-related hypercalcaemia and suggest that sepsis should be added to the list of risk factors for development of this syndrome.
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