The association of serum magnesium and mortality outcomes in heart failure patients: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Medicine (Baltimore). 2016 Dec;95(50):e5406. doi: 10.1097/MD.0000000000005406.


Background: Low serum magnesium (Mg) has been independently shown to increase risk of heart failure (HF), but data on the association between serum Mg concentration and the outcome of patients with HF are conflicting. The purpose of this systematic review and meta-analysis was to estimate the prognostic effects of hypermagnesemia and hypomagnesemia on cardiovascular (CV) mortality and all-cause mortality (ACM) of patients with HF.

Methods: Relevant studies were identified from Medline and Scopus databases. Included and excluded criteria were defined. Effects (i.e., log [risk ratio [RR]]) of hypomagnesemia and hypermagnesemia versus normomagnesemia were estimated using Poisson regression, and then a multivariate meta-analysis was applied for pooling RRs across studies. Heterogeneity was explored using a meta-regression and subgroup analysis.

Results: On analysis, 7 eligible prospective studies yielded a total of 5172 chronic HF patients with 913 and 1438 deaths from CV and ACM, respectively. Most participants were elderly men with left ventricular (LV) ejection fraction ≤40%. Those patients with baseline hypermagnesemia had a significantly higher risk of CV mortality (RR, 1.38; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.07-1.78) or ACM (RR, 1.35; 95% CI, 1.18-1.54) than those with baseline normomagnesemia. However, baseline hypomagnesemia was not associated with the risk of CV mortality (RR, 1.11; 95% CI, 0.79-1.57) and ACM (RR, 1.11; 95% CI, 0.87-1.41). A subgroup analysis by Mg cutoff suggested a dose-response trend for hypermagnesemia effects, that is, the pooled RRs for CV mortality were 1.28 (95% CI, 1.05-1.55) and 1.92 (95% CI, 1.00-3.68) for the cutoff of 0.89 to 1.00 and 1.05 to 1.70 mmol/L, respectively.

Conclusion: The present systematic review and meta-analysis suggested that, in HF patients, hypermagnesemia with serum Mg ≥ 1.05 mmol/L was associated with an increased risk of CV mortality and ACM but this was not observed for hypomagnesemia. This finding was limited to the elderly patients with chronic HF who had reduced LV systolic function.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Cause of Death*
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Heart Failure / blood*
  • Heart Failure / mortality*
  • Heart Failure / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Magnesium / blood*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Sex Factors
  • Survival Analysis


  • Biomarkers
  • Magnesium