Magnesium deficiency: recognition and treatment in the emergency medicine setting

Am J Emerg Med. 1992 Jan;10(1):78-83. doi: 10.1016/0735-6757(92)90133-i.


Magnesium deficiency and its clinical manifestations are common in patients presenting to the emergency department. Assessment of the total body magnesium status of a patient is problematic since the serum magnesium concentration, the only readily available clinical test for this condition, may not be accurate in predicting the intracellular magnesium concentration. Therefore, empiric magnesium therapy should be considered in high-risk patients. Since magnesium participates in numerous metabolic processes in the body, a deficiency can affect multiple organ systems and present clinically in a variety of ways. Magnesium deficiency is reviewed in this paper with regard to therapeutic implications; specific treatment guidelines are given including dose, infusion rate, and magnesium preparation. Magnesium is also reviewed with regard to its homeostasis and metabolic role in the body. Special mention is made regarding precautions for use of magnesium in the setting of renal insufficiency.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Emergencies*
  • Humans
  • Magnesium / blood
  • Magnesium / metabolism
  • Magnesium / therapeutic use
  • Magnesium Deficiency / diagnosis*
  • Magnesium Deficiency / therapy


  • Magnesium