Magnesium prophylaxis of new-onset atrial fibrillation: A systematic review and meta-analysis

PLoS One. 2023 Oct 26;18(10):e0292974. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0292974. eCollection 2023.


Purpose: Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common cardiac arrhythmia in intensive care units (ICU) and is associated with increased morbidity and mortality. Magnesium prophylaxis has been shown to reduce incidence of AF in cardiac surgery patients, however, evidence outside this population is limited. The objective of this study is to summarize studies examining magnesium versus placebo in the prevention of NOAF outside the setting of cardiac surgery.

Source: We performed a comprehensive search of MEDLINE, EMBASE, and Cochrane Library (CENTRAL) from inception until January 3rd, 2023. We included all interventional research studies that compared magnesium to placebo and excluded case reports and post cardiac surgery patients. We conducted meta-analysis using the inverse variance method with random effects modelling.

Principal findings: Of the 1493 studies imported for screening, 87 full texts were assessed for eligibility and six citations, representing five randomized controlled trials (n = 4713), were included in the review, with four studies (n = 4654) included in the pooled analysis. Administration of magnesium did not significantly reduce the incidence of NOAF compared to placebo (OR 0.72, [95% CI 0.48 to 1.09]).

Conclusion: Use of magnesium did not reduce the incidence of NOAF, however these studies represent diverse groups and are hindered by significant bias. Further studies are necessary to determine if there is benefit to magnesium prophylaxis for NOAF in non-cardiac surgery patients.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Atrial Fibrillation* / epidemiology
  • Atrial Fibrillation* / prevention & control
  • Cardiac Surgical Procedures*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Magnesium / therapeutic use
  • Morbidity


  • Magnesium

Grants and funding

The authors received no specific funding for this work.