Relation between potassium, magnesium and cardiac arrhythmias

Acta Med Scand Suppl. 1981;647:163-9. doi: 10.1111/j.0954-6820.1981.tb02652.x.


Magnesium may influence the incidence of cardiac arrhythmias by 1) a direct effect 2) an effect on potassium metabolism 3) an effect as a calcium blocking agent. In the event of a magnesium deficiency the cell cannot attract potassium against the transmembrane concentration gradient. The reason may be that a magnesium deficiency interferes with the function of membrane ATPase, and thus the pumping of sodium out from the cell and potassium into the cell is impaired. The interference from a magnesium deficiency on the equilibrium of potassium between the intra- and extracellular spaces may result in changes in the resting membrane potential, changes in potassium conductance across the cell membrane as well as disturbances in the repolarization phase.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Arrhythmias, Cardiac / etiology
  • Arrhythmias, Cardiac / metabolism*
  • Electrocardiography
  • Female
  • Heart Ventricles
  • Humans
  • Hypokalemia / complications
  • Magnesium / metabolism*
  • Magnesium / physiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscles / metabolism
  • Potassium / metabolism*
  • Potassium / physiology


  • Magnesium
  • Potassium