Tetany: A condition that is due usually to low blood calcium (hypocalcemia) and is characterized by spasms of the hands and feet, cramps, spasm of the voice box (larynx), and overactive neurological reflexes. Tetany is generally considered to result from very low calcium levels in the blood. However, tetany can also result from reduction in the ionized fraction of plasma calcium without marked hypocalcemia, as is the case in severe alkalosis (when the blood is highly alkaline).
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Last Editorial Review: 5/13/2016