Research Article| Volume 13, ISSUE 1, P209-223, March 1993

Laboratory Evaluation of Magnesium Status: Renal Function and Free Intracellular Magnesium Concentration

  • Gary A. Quamme
    Address reprint requests to: Gary A. Quamme, DVM, PhD, Department of Medicine, University Hospital–UBC Site, 2211 Wesbrook Mall, Vancouver, B.C., Canada, V6T 1W5.
    From the Department of Medicine, University Hospital, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
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      The assessment of magnesium status is difficult because of the distribution of magnesium within the intracellular compartment. The majority of body magnesium is located within soft and hard tissues, and most intracellular magnesium is complexed and not available for measurement. The simplest and most useful approach to assess magnesium status accurately is through serum and renal magnesium clearance and interpretation of these parameters in light of a complete history and clinical evaluation of the patient. Accordingly, one combines the laboratory assessment with the clinical evaluation. Other tests, such as determination of serum and intracellular free Mg2+ activity by either fluorescent or 31NMR techniques, are not particularly useful in the routine laboratory. These approaches are being used currently on an experimental basis to assess the role of magnesium in health and disease, which may lead to better indices of clinical evaluation.
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