Immobilization hypercalcemia in incomplete paraplegia: successful treatment with pamidronate

Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 1998 Feb;79(2):222-5. doi: 10.1016/s0003-9993(98)90304-5.


Immobilization hypercalcemia (IH) occurs in adolescent patients with high-level complete tetraplegia, but it has not been reported in patients with incomplete paraplegia. We describe two adolescent patients with low-level incomplete paraplegia who developed IH during comprehensive rehabilitation. Conventional therapies with hydration, diuresis, and calcitonin were not effective. Finally, a single-dose infusion of pamidronate, an amino-bisphosphonate, completely resolved the hypercalcemia. Although it has a pharmacologic profile similar to etidronate, pamidronate is more potent, being effective in a single dose, has fewer adverse effects, and has a longer action than etidronate. These features make pamidronate more suitable for the treatment of severe IH in rehabilitation settings. It is reasonable to consider immobilization as the cause of hypercalcemia in low-level incomplete paraplegic patients who have other contributing factors.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Diphosphonates / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Hypercalcemia / drug therapy*
  • Hypercalcemia / etiology*
  • Male
  • Pamidronate
  • Paraplegia / complications*
  • Paraplegia / rehabilitation


  • Diphosphonates
  • Pamidronate