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[Gr. tetanos, stretched]
Intermittent tonic muscular spasms that typically involve the arms or legs.

Spasms may be accompanied by numbness, tingling, loss of function, and pain in affected muscle groups.

Characteristic signs include Trousseau sign, Chvostek sign, and the peroneal sign. Prolongation of the isoelectric phase of the S-T segment of the electrocardiogram may be present with tetany that is caused by a low serum calcium level.
SEE: Chvostek sign; SEE: hyperventilation; SEE: Trousseau sign

It may occur in infants, esp. newborns in intensive care and those who have had perinatal asphyxia. Other causative factors include hypocalcemia, e.g., in hypoparathyroidism or after parathyroid surgery, hypomagnesemia, hypokalemia, alkalosis, e.g., in hyperventilation, infection with Clostridium tetani, and vitamin D deficiency.

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