Magnesium administration reduces risk for arrhythmias in cardiac surgery

Magnesium administration and dysrhythmias after cardiac surgery. A placebo-controlled, double-blind, randomized trial.

This study evaluated the effect of magnesium in 50 hospitalized patients. Magnesium was administered intravenously after cardiac surgery. The results showed that magnesium treated patients had a significantly reduced frequency of postoperative arrhythmias (irregular heartbeat). In addition, patients who had normal magnesium levels after the operation had a significantly reduced frequency of new arrhythmias compared to patients who had low magnesium levels after the operation. Since reduced postoperative magnesium levels are associated with increased death risk (morbidity), the authors recommend that optimum magnesium levels have to be closely observed in cardiac surgery patients. Further details can be found in the study.
An irregular heartbeat or “arrhythmia” is an abnormal heart rhythm, caused by problems with the heart's electrical conduction system. Arrhythmia occurs when the heart beats too fast (tachycardia), too slow (bradycardia) or with a skipping rhythm. Arrhythmias can be caused by a heart attack or other (organic) damage to the heart muscle. The most frequent cause of arrhythmia, however, is a chronic deficiency of micronutrients in the billions of heart muscle cells. If this deficiency comprises the specialized “electrical” heart muscle cells that either generate (e.g. sinus node) or conduct the electrical impulse for the heartbeat, they no longer function properly and arrhythmia occurs.
England MR, Gordon G, Salem M, Chernow B. Magnesium administration and dysrhythmias after cardiac surgery. A placebo-controlled, double-blind, randomized trial. JAMA. 1992 Nov 4;268(17):2395-402.


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