Objective: To review phosphorus and phosphate metabolism and the importance of phosphate abnormalities in veterinary patients.
Data sources: A review of recent human and veterinary medical literature.
Human data synthesis: There is a significant amount of original research on human patients with phosphate abnormalities. Hypophosphatemia has been studied in patients with diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), head trauma, refeeding syndrome, hypothermia and in ventilator patients that fail to wean. Hyperphosphatemia has been studied in patients with renal failure and malignancy. Phosphate levels have also been evaluated for prognostic value in sepsis and acute liver failure.
Veterinary data synthesis: Although animal models were used in early experimental research, fewer studies have been published on the effects of phosphate abnormalities in veterinary patients. Hypophosphatemia has been studied in animals with DKA, with refeeding syndrome and with hyperparathyroidism. Hyperphosphatemia has been studied in animals with renal failure and with secondary hypoparathyroidism.
Conclusion: Phosphorus and phosphate are important in many biological functions. This paper is a review of their role in normal metabolism and the clinical importance of phosphate imbalances for our emergency and critical care patients.