Author: Jared Scott, M.D.
- Cardiac myocytes and vascular smooth muscle are dependent on an intracellular calcium influx for contraction. Pancreatic beta cells rely on calcium to release insulin.
- Calcium channel blockers will decrease cardiac contractility and heart rate, but will also cause vascular smooth muscle relaxation with a subsequent decrease in systemic vascular resistance.
- Resultant cardiac depression and hypotension.
- Pancreatic beta cells also use calcium to release insulin, so calcium channel blockade can cause hyperglycemia.
- Treatment for calcium channel toxicity include: fluid resuscitation, calcium gluconate, vasopressors, and high dose insulin.
- Dosing for insulin therapy is usually 1-5 Units/kg/hr. Make sure to add dextrose!
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St-Onge M, Dubé PA, Gosselin S, et al. (2014). Treatment for calcium channel blocker poisoning: a systematic review. Clinical Toxicology. 52:926.