Magnesium therapy for intractable ventricular tachyarrhythmias in normomagnesemic patients.
Intractable ventricular tachyarrhythmia associated with hypomagnesemia responds well to magnesium given intravenously. Two patients with recurrent ventricular tachycardia and ventricular fibrillation associated with normal serum magnesium levels and resistant to treatment with potassium chloride, lidocaine and bretylium tosylate responded dramatically to the administration of magnesium sulfate. A third patient in whom the serum magnesium level was unknown also showed dramatic response to magnesium therapy. Magnesium depletion probably interferes with sodium-potassium adenosine triphosphatase enzyme activity and causes ionic imbalance and electrical instability of purkinje's fibers. Without obvious magnesium depletion this element in high concentration may still prolong transient inward current, prolong the effective refractory period, increase the membrane potential and control ventricular tachyarrhythmia. When ventricular fibrillation or malignant ventricular tachycardia cannot be controlled with lidocaine and other conventional drugs, we recommend infusing magnesium sulfate, 2 to 3 grams in one minute, followed by 10 grams over five hours.