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May 1978

Magnesium Deficiency as a Cause of Serious Arrhythmias

Arch Intern Med. 1978;138(5):825. doi:10.1001/archinte.1978.03630290105038

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To the Editor.—  Hypomagnesemia as a cause of serious arrhythmias was brought to the attention of the readers in the article, "Life-Threatening Ventricular Tachyarrhythmias in Delirium Tremens" by Fisher and Abrams (137:1238-1241, 1977). However, I was concerned by the implication that Fankushen's 1964 report had raised some doubt about the need to treat hypomagnesemia. If these case summaries are read in detail, it is seen that a normal serum magnesium level developed on the 87th day in case 1; patient 3 improved enough to be discharged on the 54th day; patient 4 was tremulous and lethargic and died on the 12th day; patient 5 continued to be lethargic and confused until the 26th day; thereafter his condition improved and he was discharged on the 44th day. It is known that if the intake of alcohol is stopped and the patient receives a good diet, magnesium repletion can occur. Therefore, these

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