Background: Magnesium is an essential cation in the human body involved in many processes in the human body. Hypomagnesium has been linked to many poor health outcomes.
Aims: To study the clinical and biochemical characteristics and health outcomes of patients admitted and found to have hypomagnesaemia in an Australian hospital with a high proportion of Indigenous Australians.
Methods: A retrospective cohort study was conducted of all patients with hypomagnesaemia hospitalised between 1 August 2008 and 31 December 2014 at Royal Darwin Hospital. All relevant demographic, clinical and biochemical data were collected from patients' medical records. The hospital database was reviewed in January 2018 for mortality of all included patients. Results: A total of 876 patients had been admitted with a confirmed diagnosis of hypomagnesaemia during the study period, with mean follow-up period of 4.0 ± 2.7 years. The mean age at admission was 52.4 ± 19.1 years, 52.2% were females and 56.5% were Indigenous Australians. Chronic kidney disease (99.7%), excessive alcohol consumption (45.7%), hypertension (43.9%) and respiratory diseases (15.0%) were the most common conditions in these patients. Hypomagnesaemia was associated with prolonged length of hospital stay. Most patients did not receive treatment for hypomagnesaemia during admission. During the follow-up period, 38.6% of patients died, and the most common causes of death were malignancies (29.9%).
Conclusion: Hypomagnesaemia was a common and undertreated condition in hospitalised patients and was associated with poor health outcomes. Therefore, hospitals should develop guidelines for replacing and monitoring magnesium levels during hospitalisation, achieving better outcomes.