Background: The atherosclerotic process progresses more dynamically in hemodialysis (HD) patients than in the general population. In HD patients, lower magnesium levels were reported to be associated with increased atherosclerosis of the common carotid artery. We tested the hypotheses that magnesium supplementation helps to improve carotid intima media thickness (IMT) in HD patients.
Materials and methods: A total of 47 patients on HD were included in the study. Patients were randomly divided into two groups: group A (Mg group), in which patients were given magnesium citrate orally at a dosage of 610 mg every other day for 2 months and group B (control group), in which patients received only calcium acetate therapy as a phosphate binder. At baseline and 2 months later, all patients underwent a carotid artery ultrasound scan to measure carotid IMT.
Results: At the end of 2 months, mean serum calcium, phosphorus, and calcium x phosphorus product were not changed in both groups. As expected, mean serum Mg level significantly increased in the Mg group at the end of 2 months. In addition, serum parathyroid hormone (PTH) level significantly decreased in the Mg group at the end of 2 months (P = 0.003). Baseline carotid IMT was similar between the groups. Bilateral carotid IMT was significantly improved in patients treated with magnesium citrate compared to initial values (P = 0.001 for left, P = 0.002 for right).
Conclusion: Based on the present data, magnesium may play an important protective role in the progression of atherosclerosis in patients on dialysis. Further studies are needed to assess more accurately the role of magnesium in atherosclerotic regression in dialysis patients.