Variant Angina Due to Deficiency of Intracellular Magnesium
This case study was conducted with a 51-year-old patient suffering from a special form of angina pectoris (variant angina). The disease was characterized by a number of symptoms, including coronary arterial spasms, i.e. a narrowing of the arteries that supply blood to the heart. Prior to the study, the patient had been treated unsuccessfully with calcium channel blockers and nitrates. At the beginning of the present study, urine tests showed low magnesium levels in the patient. After infusion of magnesium sulfate (80 mEq per hour), angina symptoms did not occur. This improvement persisted even after the administration of ergonovine, a medication to induce coronary spasms. The researchers concluded that magnesium should be considered for the treatment of angina pectoris. More details can be found in the study.
The underlying disease process of coronary artery disease (CAD) is called arteriosclerosis. This process starts with a weakening of the blood vessel walls, most frequently caused by an insufficient dietary intake of vitamins and other micronutrients. This leads to an underproduction of collagen and other reinforcement molecules in the artery walls and to the initiation of a repair process to compensate for the growing instability of the wall. The arteriosclerotic plaques that – with time – narrow the blood flow in the coronary arteries is essentially an overshooting repair process for the vitamin-deficient coronary artery wall. A heart attack occurs when the already narrowed artery is clogged and the supply of oxygen and nutrients to billions of heart muscle cells is interrupted. Angina pectoris. Angina pectoris is the typical alarm signal for an increased risk of heart attack. Angina pectoris typically manifests as a sharp pain in the middle of the chest, which frequently radiates into the left arm, but can also manifest itself in other (untypical) symptoms.
Tanabe K, Noda K, Kamegai M, Miyake F, Mikawa T, Murayama M, Sugai J. Variant angina due to deficiency of intracellular magnesium. Clin Cardiol. 1990 Sep;13(9):663-5.