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Title: Evaluation of a calcium, magnesium and phosphate clinical ordering tool in the emergency department.
Austin Authors: Sri-Ganeshan, Muhuntha ;Walker, Kimberly P;Lines, Travis J;Neal-Williams, Tom J L;Sheffield, Elizabeth R;Yeoh, Michael J ;Taylor, David McD 
Affiliation: Austin Health
Western Health, Footscray, Victoria, Australia
Alfred Health, Prahran, Victoria, Australia
Epworth Health, Richmond, Victoria, Australia
Northern Health, Epping, Victoria, Australia
Department of Medicine, University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria, Australia
Issue Date: Mar-2022
Date: 2022-01-14
Publication information: The American Journal of Emergency Medicine 2022; 53: 163-167
Abstract: We developed a clinical tool comprising patient risk factors for having an abnormal calcium (Ca), magnesium (Mg) or phosphate (PO4) level. We hypothesized that patients without a risk factor do not require testing. This study examined the tool's potential utility for rationalizing Ca, Mg and PO4 ordering in the emergency department (ED). We undertook a retrospective observational study in a single metropolitan ED. Patients aged 18 years or more who presented between July and December 2019 were included if they had a Ca, Mg or PO4 test during their ED stay. Demographic and clinical data, including the presence of risk factors, were extracted from the medical record. The primary outcome was a clinically significant abnormal Ca, Mg or PO4 level (>0.2 mmol/l above or below the laboratory reference range). Calcium, Mg and PO4 levels were measured on 1426, 1296 and 1099 patients, respectively. The positive and negative predictive values and likelihood ratios of the tool identifying a patient with a Ca level > 0.2 mmol/l outside the range were 0.05, 0.99, 1.59 and 0.41, respectively. The values for Mg were 0.02, 1.00, 1.44 and 0.35 and those for PO4 were 0.15, 0.93, 1.38 and 0.57, respectively. The majority of patients not identified as having an abnormal level did not receive electrolyte correction treatment. Application of the tool would have resulted in a 35.8% cost reduction. The tool failed to predict a very small proportion of patients (approximately 1%) with an abnormal Ca or Mg level and for whom it would have been desirable to have these levels measured. It may help rationalize Ca and Mg ordering and reduce laboratory costs.
DOI: 10.1016/j.ajem.2022.01.003
ORCID: 0000-0002-8986-9997
Journal: The American Journal of Emergency Medicine
PubMed URL: 35063887
PubMed URL:
Type: Journal Article
Subjects: Calcium
Choosing Wisely
Emergency health service
Appears in Collections:Journal articles

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