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Imaging features of hypercalcemia: A primer for emergency radiologists

      Highlights

      • Hypercalcemia may be the only laboratory abnormality for several emergency department complaints that warrant imaging work-up
      • Malignancy is the most common cause of hypercalcemia in the emergency department setting, present in 35-45% of patients
      • Advanced imaging techniques may be utilized for suspicious pulmonary or musculoskeletal findings in patients with hypercalcemia.

      Abstract

      Hypercalcemia is a marker for a wide variety of underlying etiologies, and its presentation in the emergency setting may be asymptomatic, incidental, or a primary complaint with associated symptoms and physical exam findings. While the workup is initially driven through serum laboratory testing, imaging plays an important role in diagnosis and post-treatment follow up. This review covers multiple common and uncommon etiologies of hypercalcemia, details their underlying mechanisms, and identifies the most important associated imaging findings. It is important for radiologists to be familiar with these etiologies and imaging findings, particularly in the emergency setting since hypercalcemia may represent the only significant laboratory abnormality associated with the presenting condition. Furthermore, the radiologist's interpretation of a study may be directly influenced by knowing about a patient's hypercalcemia.

      Keywords

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