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01.12.2017 | Research article | Ausgabe 1/2017 Open Access

BMC Nephrology 1/2017

Lower serum magnesium is associated with vascular calcification in peritoneal dialysis patients: a cross sectional study

BMC Nephrology > Ausgabe 1/2017
Amber O. Molnar, Mohan Biyani, Ian Hammond, John Paul Harmon, Susan Lavoie, Brendan McCormick, Manish M. Sood, Jessica Wagner, Elena Pena, Deborah L. Zimmerman
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The online version of this article (doi:10.​1186/​s12882-017-0549-y) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.



Coronary artery calcification (CAC) is highly prevalent among dialysis patients and is associated with increased cardiovascular and all cause mortality. Magnesium (Mg) inhibits vascular calcification in animal and in-vitro studies but whether the same effect occurs in humans is uncertain.


A single centre cross-sectional study of 80 prevalent peritoneal dialysis (PD) patients; on PD only for a minimum of 3 months. A radiologist blinded to patient status calculated their abdominal aortic calcification (AAC) scores on lateral lumbar spine radiographs, a validated surrogate for CAC.


Eighty patients provided informed consent and underwent lumbar spine radiography. The mean serum Mg was 0.8 mmol/L (standard deviation 0.2) and mean AAC score 8.9 (minimum 0, maximum 24). A higher serum Mg level was associated with a lower AAC score (R 2 = 0.06, unstandardized coefficient [B] = −7.81, p = 0.03), and remained after adjustment for age, serum phosphate, serum parathyroid hormone, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, smoking history, and diabetes (model adjusted R 2 = 0.36, serum Mg and AAC score B = −11.44, p = 0.00). This translates to a 0.1 mmol/L increase in serum Mg being independently associated with a 1.1-point decrease in AAC score.


Our findings suggest that Mg may inhibit vascular calcification. If this association is replicated across larger studies with serial Mg and vascular calcification measurements, interventions that increase serum Mg and their effect on vascular calcification warrant further investigation in the PD population.
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