PHOENIX—Lower serum magnesium level is a significant predictor of mortality in patient on peritoneal dialysis (PD), researchers found.

Researchers at Long Island College Hospital in Brooklyn, N.Y., enrolled 62 PD patients from November 2000 to July 2008 and followed them until September 2010. Patients had mean age of 54 years; 55% of them were female, 65% were African American, and 24% had diabetes. The mean time on dialysis at enrollment was 46 months.

The study population had a mean serum magnesium level of 1.597 mEq/L. The mean and maximum follow-up periods were 2.8 and 9.8 years, respectively.

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Of the 62 patients, 26 (42%) died. Patients who survived had significantly higher serum magnesium levels compared with those who did not (1.76 vs.1.50), investigator Hitesh Kapupara, MD, a nephrology fellow, reported at the 31st Annual Dialysis Conference.

The researchers stratified the patients into two groups according to their magnesium levels at enrollment. After 9.8 years of observation, patients with an enrollment magnesium level above 1.6 had significantly better cumulative survival than those with a magnesium level of 1.6 mEq/L or less.

After adjusting for age, race, gender, diabetes, and months on dialysis at enrollment, each 1 mEq/L increase in enrollment serum magnesium was associated with an 85% decrease in mortality risk, Dr. Kapurpara said. Age and months on dialysis were also significant predictors of mortality.

Noting that current dialysate magnesium concentration is 0.5 mEq/L, he told colleagues that higher dialysate concentrations of magnesium should be considered as a way to prevent magnesium depletion.