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Ann Thorac Surg. 2001 Oct;72(4):1256-61; discussion 1261-2.

Magnesium infusion dramatically decreases the incidence of atrial fibrillation after coronary artery bypass grafting.

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Department of Cardiovascular Surgery, Acibadem Hospital, Istanbul, Turkey.



Atrial fibrillation (AF) is one of the most common complications of cardiac surgery. Magnesium, like several other pharmacologic agents, has been used in the prophylaxis of postoperative AF with varying degrees of success. However, the dose and the timing of magnesium prophylaxis need to be clarified. The purpose of this study was to assess the effect of intermittent magnesium infusion on postoperative AF.


A total of 200 consecutive patients who had elective, isolated, first-time coronary artery bypass grafting were prospectively randomized to two groups. Patients in the magnesium group (n = 100) received 6 mmol MgSO4 infusion in 100 mL 0.9% NaCl solution (25 mL/h) the day before surgery, just after cardiopulmonary bypass, and once daily for 4 days after surgery. Patients in the control group (n = 100) received only 100 mL 0.9% NaCl solution (25 mL/h) at the same time points.


Postoperative AF occurred in 2 (2%) patients in the magnesium group and in 21 (21%) patients in the control group (p < 0.001). Atrial fibrillation started, on average, 49.4 +/- 16.8 hours postoperatively. The postoperative length of hospital stay was not significantly different in patients with AF (7.4 +/- 8.0 days) compared with patients without AF (5.4 +/- 1.1 days; p = 0.236).


The use of magnesium in the preoperative and early postoperative periods is highly effective in reducing the incidence of AF after coronary artery bypass grafting.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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