Low Serum Magnesium and the Development of Atrial Fibrillation in the Community: The Framingham Heart Study
Background—Low serum magnesium has been linked to increased risk of atrial fibrillation (AF) following cardiac surgery. It is unknown whether hypomagnesemia predisposes to AF in the community.
Methods and Results—We studied 3,530 participants (mean age, 44 years; 52% women) from the Framingham Offspring Study who attended a routine examination, and were free of AF and cardiovascular disease. We used Cox proportional hazard regression analysis to examine the association between serum magnesium at baseline and risk of incident AF. Analyses were adjusted for conventional AF risk factors, use of antihypertensive medications, and serum potassium. During up to 20 years of follow-up, 228 participants developed AF. Mean serum magnesium was 1.88 mg/dl. The age- and sex-adjusted incidence rate of AF was 9.4 per 1,000 person-years (95% confidence interval, 6.7 to 11.9) in the lowest quartile of serum magnesium (≤1.77 mg/dl), compared with 6.3 per 1,000 person-years (95% confidence interval, 4.1 to 8.4) in the highest quartile (≥1.99 mg/dl). In multivariable-adjusted models, individuals in the lowest quartile of serum magnesium were approximately 50% more likely to develop AF (adjusted hazard ratio, 1.52, 1.00 to 2.31; P=0.05), compared with those in the upper quartiles. Results were similar after excluding individuals on diuretics.
Conclusions—Low serum magnesium is moderately associated with the development of AF in individuals without cardiovascular disease. Because hypomagnesemia is common in the general population, a link with AF may have potential clinical implications. Further studies are warranted to confirm our findings and elucidate the underlying mechanisms.
- Received November 26, 2011.
- Accepted October 25, 2012.
- Copyright © 2012, American Heart Association, Inc. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use prohibited