Impact of admission serum calcium levels on mortality in hospitalized patients

Objectives: To assess the relationship between admission serum calcium levels and in-hospital mortality in all hospitalized patients. Methods: All adult hospitalized patients who had admission serum calcium levels available between years 2009 and 2013 were enrolled. Admission serum calcium was categorized based on its distribution into six groups (<7.9, 7.9 to <8.4, 8.4 to <9.0, 9.0 to <9.6, 9.6 to <10.1, and ≥10.1 mg/dL). The odds ratio (OR) of in-hospital mortality by admission serum calcium, using the calcium category of 9.6–10.1 mg/dL as the reference group, was obtained by logistic regression analysis. Results: 18,437 patients were studied. The lowest incidence of in-hospital mortality was associated with admission serum calcium within 9.6 to <10.1 mg/dL. A higher in-hospital mortality rate was observed in patients with serum calcium <9.6 and ≥10.1 mg/dL. Also, 38% and 33% of patients with admission serum calcium <7.9 and ≥10.1 mg/dL were on calcium supplements before admission, respectively. After adjusting for potential confounders, both serum calcium <8.4 and ≥10.1 mg/dL were associated with an increased risk of in-hospital mortality with ORs of 2.86 [95% confidence interval (CI) 1.98–4.17], 1.74 (95% CI 1.21–2.53), and 1.69 (95% CI 1.10–2.59) when serum calcium were within <7.9, 7.9 to <8.4, and ≥10.1 mg/dL, respectively. Conclusion: Hypocalcemia and hypercalcemia on admission were associated with in-hospital mortality. Highest mortality risk is observed in patients with admission hypocalcemia (<7.9 mg/dL). One-third of patients with hypercalcemia on admission were on calcium supplements.