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Article
June 13, 1990

Frequency of Hypomagnesemia and Hypermagnesemia: Requested vs Routine

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Medicine, Veterans Administration Hospital, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Oklahoma City (Dr Whang), and Department of Pathology, Wishard Memorial Hospital, Indiana University Medical Center, Indianapolis (Dr Ryder).

From the Department of Medicine, Veterans Administration Hospital, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Oklahoma City (Dr Whang), and Department of Pathology, Wishard Memorial Hospital, Indiana University Medical Center, Indianapolis (Dr Ryder).

JAMA. 1990;263(22):3063-3064. doi:10.1001/jama.1990.03440220087036
Abstract

This study was designed to assess the effectiveness of identifying serum magnesium abnormalities by comparing physician-initiated requests for this analyte with routine magnesium determinations. Because magnesium abnormalities frequently accompany other electrolyte abnormalities, we measured magnesium in 1033 serum specimens submitted for electrolyte analyses. Physicianinitiated requests for magnesium measurements were received for 81 (7.4%) of these specimens. Serum magnesium abnormalities were identified in 546 of the 1033 specimens (hypomagnesemia [<0.74 mmol/L], 487; hypermagnesemia [>0.99 mmol/L], 59). Only 10% of the hypomagnesemic patients (48/487) and 13% of the hypermagnesemic patients (7/59) were identified by physicianinitiated requests for this analyte. Fifty-three patients were both hypomagnesemic/hypokalemic and 30 patients were both hypomagnesemic/hyponatremic, but only 8 (15%) and 3 (10%), respectively, had physician-initiated requests for magnesium. Because magnesium abnormalities in significant numbers of patients are not being detected, we recommend routine measurement of this analyte when analyses of electrolytes are required for the care of patients.

(JAMA. 1990;263:3063-3064)

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