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Magnesium sulphate replacement therapy in cardiac surgery patients: a systematic review

Version 2 2024-06-04, 01:05
Version 1 2019-01-30, 15:53
journal contribution
posted on 2024-06-04, 01:05 authored by Rebecca M Jedwab, Alison HutchinsonAlison Hutchinson, Bernice Redley
OBJECTIVE: The objective of this review was to identify evidence to inform clinical practice guidelines for magnesium sulphate (MgSO4) replacement therapy for postoperative cardiac surgery patients. DATA SOURCES: Three databases were systematically searched: CINAHL Complete, MEDLINE Complete, and EmBase. REVIEW METHOD USED: A systematic literature review method was used to locate, appraise, and synthesise available evidence for each step of the medication management cycle (indication, prescription, preparation, administration, and monitoring) for MgSO4 replacement therapy. Database searches used combinations of synonyms for postoperation or surgery, cardiac, heart, arrhythmia, atrial fibrillation, and magnesium sulphate. Search results were independently screened for inclusion by two researchers at title, abstract, and full-text stages with good statistical agreement (kappa scores of 0.99, 0.87, and 1.00, respectively). RESULTS: Twenty-four included studies reported varying methodologies, data collected, and medication management practices. Of these, 23 studies (95.8%) excluded patients with comorbidities commonly observed in clinical practice. This review identified low-level evidence for two practice recommendations: (i) concurrent administration of MgSO4 with medications recommended as the best practice for prevention of postoperative atrial fibrillation and (ii) clinical and laboratory monitoring of magnesium blood serum levels, vital signs, and electrocardiography should be performed during MgSO4 replacement therapy. Evidence to inform MgSO4 replacement therapy for each medication management cycle step was limited; therefore, a guideline could not be developed. CONCLUSIONS: Although MgSO4 is routinely administered to prevent hypomagnesaemia in postoperative cardiac surgery patients, there was insufficient evidence to guide critical care nurses in each medication management cycle step for MgSO4 replacement therapy. These findings precluded the development of comprehensive recommendations to standardise this practice. Poor standardisation can increase the risk for patient harm related to variation in clinical processes and procedural errors. In light of this evidence gap, consensus of expert opinion should be used as a strategy to guide MgSO4 medication management.



Australian critical care






Amsterdam, The Netherlands





Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

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2018, Australian College of Critical Care Nurses Ltd.