Does magnesium have a role in the treatment of patients with coronary artery disease?

Michael Shechter*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Hypomagnesemia is common in hospitalized patients, especially in elderly patients with coronary artery disease (CAD) and/or those with chronic heart failure. Hypomagnesemia is associated with increased all cause mortality and mortality from CAD. Magnesium supplementation improves myocardial metabolism, inhibits calcium accumulation and myocardial cell death; it improves vascular tone, peripheral vascular resistance, afterload and cardiac output, reduces cardiac arrhythmias and improves lipid metabolism. Magnesium also reduces vulnerability to oxygen-derived free radicals, improves endothelial function and inhibits platelet function, including platelet aggregation and adhesion, which potentially confers upon magnesium physiologic and natural effects similar to adenosine-diphosphate inhibitors such as clopidogrel. However, data regarding the use of magnesium in patients with acute myocardial infarction (AMI) are conflicting. Although some previous relatively small randomized clinical trials demonstrated a remarkable reduction in mortality when intravenous magnesium was administered to relatively high risk AMI patients, two recently published large-scale randomized clinical trials (the Fourth International Study of Infarct Survival [ISIS 4] and Magnesium in Coronaries [MAGIC]) were unable to demonstrate any advantage of intravenous magnesium over placebo. Nevertheless, the theoretical benefits of magnesium supplementation as a cardio-protective agent in CAD patients, promising results from animal and human studies, its relatively low-cost and ease of handling requiring no special expertise, together with its excellent tolerability, gives magnesium a place in treating CAD patients, especially in those at high risk, such as CAD patients with heart failure, the elderly and hospitalized patients with hypomagnesemia. Furthermore, magnesium therapy is indicated in life-threatening ventricular arrhythmias such as torsades de pointes and intractable ventricular tachycardia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)231-239
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Cardiovascular Drugs
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2003


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