JOHN P. SHEEHAN, M.D.
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To the editor: The report of Greenspon and Schaal (1), and the accompanying editorial (2), highlighted the arrhythmogenic effects of alcohol. Neither communication, however, mentioned alcohol-related hypomagnesemia as an important factor both in the precipitation of atrial fibrillation and its responsiveness to therapy. All patients in the study by Greenspon and Schall surprisingly were reported to have normal serum magnesium levels, and Ettinger and associates (3) did not document the magnesium levels of their patients with "holiday heart," although severe hypokalemia was recorded. One would expect at least 25% of all chronic alcoholics to have subnormal serum magnesium levels (4);
SHEEHAN JP. Alcohol and the Heart. Ann Intern Med. 1983;98:1022. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-98-6-1022
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 1983;98(6):1022.
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