Magnesium (Mg) has been shown to reduce platelet aggregation both in vitro and ex vivo, and this antiplatelet effect may be advantageous in the prevention of arterial thrombosis. Previous animal studies have shown an antithrombotic effect of Mg also in vivo, but mainly with higher Mg concentrations ( approximately 3.0-4.0 mM). The objectives of the present study were to evaluate the antithrombotic effect of (1) intravenous Mg at a lower and clinically more relevant concentration and (2) topically applied Mg. The study comprised 30 male rats, randomly assigned into 3 groups: (1) placebo group, (2) intravenous Mg group, and (3) topical Mg group. A thrombogenic lesion was established by making a standardised arteriotomy in the right femoral artery. The vessel was transilluminated and thrombus formation was visualised dynamically by in vivo microscopy and recorded on videotapes. Thrombus area was measured after ended experiment by computer-assisted image analysis. Intravenously administered Mg, elevating the S-Mg level to 2.2 mmol/L, significantly reduced the mean thrombus area (p<0.05) compared to the control group. Topically applied Mg significantly decreased the maximum thrombus area, without any increase in S-Mg level (p<0.05). The Mg-treated groups showed no increase in bleeding complications. A transient fall in blood pressure was seen in the systemic Mg group, but blood pressures were not significantly different between any of the groups at the end of the experiment. In conclusion, topically as well as intravenously infused Mg reduce arterial thrombus formation in this in vivo rat model without compromising haemostasis.