Trousseau sign

Trousseau sign of latent tetany (not to be confused with Trousseau syndrome) is highly specific for hypocalcaemia 1. It may be elicited by placing a blood pressure cuff over the upper arm and inflating to above systolic pressure for 2-3 minutes. This reduces arterial supply to the forearm. The ischaemia, in the context of hypocalcaemia, and mediated by the mechanism of hypocalcaemic neuronal irritability, leads to muscular spasm of the wrist and hand (carpopedal spasm). The sign is seen in 94% with hypocalcaemia and only 1% of those with normal calcium levels (i.e. 94% sensitivity and 99% specificity)  

History and etymology 

Armand Trousseau (1801-1867), was a French physician who was the first to describe his eponymous sign 2.

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Article information

rID: 63944
System: Head & Neck
Section: Signs
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Trousseau’s sign of latent tetany
  • Trousseau sign of hypocalcaemia
  • Trousseau sign of latent tetany

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