Magnesium deficiency and sudden death

Am Heart J. 1992 Aug;124(2):544-9. doi: 10.1016/0002-8703(92)90633-7.


A link between Mg deficiency and sudden death is suggested by a substantial number of studies published over the past three decades. Data come from epidemiologic, autopsy, clinical, and animal studies. They suggest that: (1) Sudden death is common in areas where community water supplies are Mg-deficient. (2) Myocardial Mg content is low in people who die of sudden death. (3) Cardiac arrhythmias and coronary artery vasospasm can be caused by Mg deficiency and (4) Intravenous Mg reduces the risk of arrhythmia and death immediately after acute myocardial infarction. Because of these data, Mg supplementation has been proposed as a possible method of reducing the risk of sudden death. Suggested ways of supplementing Mg include public education to change dietary habits, addition of Mg to community water supplies, fortification of foods, and oral supplementation. Despite the substantial number of studies linking Mg deficiency with sudden death, no prospective studies have yet investigated whether large-scale Mg supplementation is useful for the primary prevention of sudden death.

Publication types

  • Editorial

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Death, Sudden, Cardiac / epidemiology
  • Death, Sudden, Cardiac / etiology*
  • Europe / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Japan / epidemiology
  • Magnesium / physiology
  • Magnesium / therapeutic use
  • Magnesium Deficiency / complications
  • Magnesium Deficiency / epidemiology*
  • Ontario / epidemiology
  • Risk Factors
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Water Supply


  • Magnesium