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Bol Asoc Med P R. 2013;105(3):17-20.

Magnesium: the forgotten electrolyte.

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Department of Medicine and Physiology, UPR School of Medicine, Medical Sciences Campus, San Juan, Puerto Rico.


Magnesium (Mg++), Potassium (K+) and Calcium (CA++) are important electrolytes in keeping a stable electrical status. The purpose of this study was to measure them in critically ill patients.


We evaluated the electrolytes in 28 consecutive patients. Eighteen were females and 10 males with mean age of 62 +/- 5 years.


The admission diagnosis in 95% of the cases was congestive heart failure. Sixty-four percent of the patients had subnormal values of Mg++, 53% subnormal values of K+, and 28% subnormal values of CA++. Fourteen percent showed lower values of the three electrolytes and 35% only of Mg++ and K+ concomitantly. Twenty-eight percent showed prolonged QTC interval. All patients with prolonged QTC interval had low Mg++ and K+ levels. Twenty five percent of the patients showed atrial fibrillation, 25% ventricular tachycardia, and 3% junctional tachycardia. The ventricular tachycardia group had more electrolyte abnormalities than those with atrial fibrillation. None of the patients received Mg++ replacement during critical management while 50% received K+ replacement.


This data shows physician overlook the Importance of Mg++ and K+ deficiency in critically ill patients.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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