What are the physical findings that suggest hypomagnesemia?

Updated: Oct 30, 2020
  • Author: Tibor Fulop, MD, PhD, FACP, FASN; Chief Editor: Vecihi Batuman, MD, FASN  more...
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At serum magnesium levels less than 1 mEq/L, patients develop the following signs:

  • Tremor
  • Hyperactive deep-tendon reflexes
  • Hyperreactivity to sensory stimuli
  • Muscular fibrillations
  • Positive Chvostek and Trousseau signs
  • Carpopedal spasms progressing to tetany
  • Vertical nystagmus

Mental status changes may become evident and may include irritability, disorientation, depression, and psychosis. Cardiac arrhythmias and reversible respiratory muscle failure can also occur in severe hypomagnesemia.

In a fashion analogous to hypermagnesemia, the rate of development of hypomagnesemia may be more important than the absolute value in terms of symptom development.

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