A 63 year old woman presented to the emergency department (ED) with 1 week of progressive dyspnoea, constipation, and generalized weakness. She had undergone spinal fustion surgery 10 days previously, and had a history of chronic renal insufficiency. The patient had been using milk of magnesia and magnesium citrate in unknown amounts to alleviate her constipation over this time frame. During her ED stay she became progressively hypotensive and bradycardic, and despite aggressive resuscitative measures she suffered an asystolic arrest 1 hour into her ED course. She was resuscitated with conventional therapy, but her haemodynamic profile did not improve significantly until transvenous cardiac pacing was employed. Her magnesium level was 10.4 mmol/l. Treatment of magnesium overload has focused upon haemodialysis, forced diuresis, and the use of intravenous calcium salts. Case reports have previously documented survival of moderately to severely ill patients when these modalities have been used. Likewise, failure of resuscitation despite use of these methods has been previously noted. To our knowledge, this is the first reported case clearly demonstrating the efficacy of transvenous cardiac pacing to successfully resuscitate a patient upon whom multiple vasopressors, fluids, and calcium previously had no clear effect.
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Competing interests: none declared
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