Introduction: Acute exacerbation of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (AECOPD) is an important disease of hospitalized elderly patients, who often have electrolyte imbalances. This study was performed to analyze total serum calcium levels in elderly patients with AECOPD and identify the correlation between hypocalcemia and AECOPD. Methods: 153 elderly patients with AECOPD served as the observation group, and 115 healthy elderly people undergoing physical examinations served as the control group. Differences in the corrected serum calcium, albumin (ALB), and neutrophil/lymphocyte ratio (NLR) were analyzed between the observation and control groups before and after treatment. The incidence of hypocalcemia was compared among patients at different ages and with different pulmonary function classifications before treatment. The relationship between hypocalcemia and respiratory infection was analyzed. Differences in the pretreatment NLR, ALB, logarithm of the serum C-reactive protein level (LogCRP), and hospital stay were compared between patients with and without hypocalcemia. Results: The corrected serum calcium level (P < 0.001), NLR (P = 0.001) and albumin level (P < 0.001) were significantly different among the pretreatment group, post-treatment group, and control group. The serum calcium level, LogCRP, and NLR were significantly lower after than before treatment (P < 0.05). Significant differences in the incidence of hypocalcemia were found among patients of different ages (P = 0.002). The respiratory infection rate (P < 0.001), hospital stay (P < 0.001), NLR (P = 0.007), and LogCRP (P < 0.001) was higher in patients with than without hypocalcemia. However, the albumin level was lower in patients with than without hypocalcemia (P < 0.001). Conclusions: In elderly patients with AECOPD, hypocalcemia may be related to the disease progression, respiratory infection rate, and hospital stay of patients with AECOPD.
Keywords: Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; hypocalcemia; respiratory infection.