Jump to: navigation, search

WikiDoc Resources for Tetany


Most recent articles on Tetany

Most cited articles on Tetany

Review articles on Tetany

Articles on Tetany in N Eng J Med, Lancet, BMJ


Powerpoint slides on Tetany

Images of Tetany

Photos of Tetany

Podcasts & MP3s on Tetany

Videos on Tetany

Evidence Based Medicine

Cochrane Collaboration on Tetany

Bandolier on Tetany

TRIP on Tetany

Clinical Trials

Ongoing Trials on Tetany at Clinical Trials.gov

Trial results on Tetany

Clinical Trials on Tetany at Google

Guidelines / Policies / Govt

US National Guidelines Clearinghouse on Tetany

NICE Guidance on Tetany


FDA on Tetany

CDC on Tetany


Books on Tetany


Tetany in the news

Be alerted to news on Tetany

News trends on Tetany


Blogs on Tetany


Definitions of Tetany

Patient Resources / Community

Patient resources on Tetany

Discussion groups on Tetany

Patient Handouts on Tetany

Directions to Hospitals Treating Tetany

Risk calculators and risk factors for Tetany

Healthcare Provider Resources

Symptoms of Tetany

Causes & Risk Factors for Tetany

Diagnostic studies for Tetany

Treatment of Tetany

Continuing Medical Education (CME)

CME Programs on Tetany


Tetany en Espanol

Tetany en Francais


Tetany in the Marketplace

Patents on Tetany

Experimental / Informatics

List of terms related to Tetany

Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]


Tetany is a medical sign, the involuntary contraction of muscles, caused by diseases and other conditions that increase the action potential frequency. The muscle cramps caused by the disease tetanus are due to a blocking of the inhibition to the neurons that supply muscles and are not classified as tetany. Tetany has two meanings, though both are related to the muscular system.

The terms "tetany" and "tetanus" are distinct.

Tetany must be distinguished from the following:

  • Muscle twitches
  • Cramps
  • Carpopedal spasm


When the membrane potential is upset, for instance by low levels of ions (such as calcium) in the blood (hypocalcaemia), neurons will depolarize too easily. In the case of hypocalcaemia, calcium ions are drawn away from their association with the voltage-gated sodium channels thus sensitising them. The upset to membrane potential is therefore caused by an influx of sodium to the cell, not directly by the hypocalcaemia. As a result, too many action potentials are sent to muscles causing spasm.


The usual cause of tetany is lack of calcium, but excess of phosphate (high phosphate-to-calcium ratio) can also trigger the spasms. Milk-and-alkali tetany is an example of this imbalance.

Underfunction of the parathyroid gland can lead to tetany.

Low levels of carbon dioxide causes tetany by altering the albumin binding of calcium such that the ionised (physiologically influencing) fraction of calcium is reduced; the most common reason for low carbon dioxide levels is hyperventilation.


The nineteenth-century clinician Professor Armand Trousseau devised the trick of occluding the brachial artery by squeezing to trigger the cramps in the fingers (Trousseau sign).

Differential Diagnosis

In alphabetical order In alphabetical order. [1] [2]


  1. Sailer, Christian, Wasner, Susanne. Differential Diagnosis Pocket. Hermosa Beach, CA: Borm Bruckmeir Publishing LLC, 2002:77 ISBN 1591032016
  2. Kahan, Scott, Smith, Ellen G. In A Page: Signs and Symptoms. Malden, Massachusetts: Blackwell Publishing, 2004:68 ISBN 140510368X

External links