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Concept: Magnesium sulfate


BACKGROUND: Pre-eclampsia/eclampsia is one of the most common causes of maternal and perinatal morbidity and mortality in low and middle income countries. Magnesium sulfate is the drug of choice for prevention of seizures as part of comprehensive management of the disease. Despite the compelling evidence for the effectiveness of magnesium sulfate, concern has been expressed about its safety and potential for toxicity, particularly among providers in low- and middle-income countries. The purpose of this review was to determine whether the literature published in these global settings supports the concerns about the safety of use of magnesium sulfate. METHODS: An integrative review of the literature was conducted to document the known incidences of severe adverse reactions to magnesium sulphate, and specific outcomes of interest related to its use. All types of prospective clinical studies were included if magnesium sulfate was used to manage pre-eclampsia or eclampsia, the study was conducted in a low- or middle-income country, and the study included the recording of the incidence of any adverse side effect resulting from magnesium sulfate use. RESULTS: A total of 24 studies that compared a magnesium sulfate regimen against other drug regimens and examined side effects among 34 subject groups were included. The overall rate of absent patellar reflex among all 9556 aggregated women was 1.6%, with a range of 0-57%. The overall rate of respiratory depression in 25 subject groups in which this outcome was reported was 1.3%, with a range of 0–8.2%. Delay in repeat administration of magnesium sulfate occurred in 3.6% of cases, with a range of 0-65%. Calcium gluconate was administered at an overall rate of less than 0.2%. There was only one maternal death that was attributed by the study authors to the use of magnesium sulfate among the 9556 women in the 24 studies. CONCLUSION: Concerns about safety and toxicity from the use of magnesium sulfate should be mitigated by findings from this integrative review, which indicates a low incidence of the most severe side effects, documented in studies that used a wide variety of standard and modified drug regimens. Adverse effects of concern to providers occur infrequently, and when they occurred, a delay of repeat administration was generally sufficient to mitigate the effect. Early screening and diagnosis of the disease, appropriate treatment with proven drugs, and reasonable vigilance for women under treatment should be adopted as global policy and practice.

Concepts: Pharmacology, Effectiveness, Magnesium sulfate, Sulfur, Morphine, Adverse effect, Salt, Iatrogenesis


There is increasing evidence that lower maternal stature is associated with shorter gestational length in the offspring. We examined the association between maternal height and the likelihood of delivering preterm babies in a large and homogeneous cohort of Swedish women.

Concepts: Childbirth, Magnesium sulfate, Preterm birth


To date, the Toxicology Section of the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office/Miami Valley Regional Crime Laboratory has identified six synthetic cathinones, commonly found in bath salt products, in 43 cases. Thirty-two cases will be reviewed here, including all of the postmortem cases, all of the human performance cases that had blood specimens submitted, and one urine-only human performance case. The following compounds have been confirmed: 3,4-methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV), 3,4-methylenedioxymethcathinone (methylone), pyrovalerone, pentylone, alpha-pyrrolidinopentiophenone (alpha-PVP) and methedrone. The method also screens for mephedrone, butylone and 3-fluoromethcathinone. Case demographics show 42 white males and females ranging in age from 19 to 53 years. The remaining case was that of a 34-year-old Hispanic male. The 43 cases represent 17 driving under the influence, two domestic violence, four suicides, 12 overdoses, six accidents, one drug-facilitated assault and one homicide. Data will be presented on the distribution of some of these cathinones in various matrices. After review, blood concentration does not appear to predict outcome regarding fatalities or impairment. The highest MDPV concentration occurred in a suicide by hanging and the highest methylone concentration was in a driver. The confirmation method is a liquid-liquid extraction with detection by liquid chromatography triple quadrupole mass spectrometry using electrospray ionization in multiple reaction monitoring mode.

Concepts: Domestic violence, Male, Female, Mass spectrometry, Magnesium sulfate, Quadrupole mass analyzer, Suicide, Coroner


This paper reports the development of arrays of capillary-based low-temperature plasma (LTP) probes for direct sample analysis. These probe arrays allow a higher surface area to be analyzed, increasing the throughput in large sample analysis. Validation of these arrays was performed on illicit, cathinone-based drugs marketed as ‘bath salts’.

Concepts: Mass spectrometry, Magnesium sulfate, Area, Surface area, Space probe, Bath salts


Management of life-threatening acute severe asthma in children and adults may require anaesthetic and intensive care. The inhaled route for drug delivery is not appropriate when only small respiratory gas volumes are shifted; the i.v. route may be associated with greater side-effects. Magnesium sulphate i.v. has a place in acute asthma management because it is a mild bronchodilator, and has a stabilizing effect on the atria which may attenuate tachycardia occurring after inhaled and i.v. salbutamol. If intubation and ventilation are required, a reduction in bronchoconstriction by any means before and during these procedures should reduce morbidity. This narrative review aims to show strengths and weakness of the evidence, present controversies, and forward opinions of the author. The review contains a practical guide to the setting up, use and efficiency of nebulizers, metered dose inhalers, and spacers (chambers). It also presents a commonsense approach to the management of severe asthmatics in whom delay in bronchodilatation would cause clinical deterioration. When self-inhaled agents have had no effect, i.v. drugs may help avoid intubation and ventilation. The review includes suggestions for the use of inhaled anaesthetics, anaesthetic induction, and brief notes on subsequent ventilation of the lungs.

Concepts: Asthma, Lung, Magnesium, Magnesium sulfate, Allergy, Epinephrine, Nebulizer, Bronchoconstriction


Background. Acute organophosphorus (OP) poisoning is relatively common and a major cause of death from poisoning in developing countries. Magnesium has been shown to be of benefit in animal models. Methods. We conducted a phase II study of bolus doses of (MgSO4) in 50 patients with acute organophosphate poisoning. Patients eligible for inclusion had ingested OP and had cholinergic symptoms consistent with moderate or severe poisoning. All patients received standard care of atropinization titrated to control muscarinic symptoms and pralidoxime. The trial was run in 4 sequential groups of patients. Participants in each group received a different total dose of MgSO4 (20%) administered as intermittent bolus doses infused over 10-15 min or placebo. There was one control patient for every 4 patients who received MgSO4. Group A (16 patients) received a total of 4 gm MgSO4 as a single bolus, group B (8 patients) received 8 gm (in two 4 gm doses q4H), group C (8 patients) received 12 gm (in three 4 gm doses q4H) group D (8 patients) received 16 gm (in four 4 gm doses q4H) and control (10 patients) received placebo). Patients were closely monitored for any adverse reaction like significant clinical neuromuscular disturbance and respiratory depression. Results. No adverse reactions to magnesium were observed. The 24 hour urinary magnesium concentration were statistically different between 16 gm (234.74 ± 74.18 mg/dl) and control (118.06 ± 30.76 mg/dl) (p = 0.019), while it was much lower than the 80% of the intravenous magnesium load. Six patients died in control group compared to 3 in 4 gm, 2 in 8 gm and 1 in 12 gm group. There was no mortality in 16 gm group. Conclusion. Magnesium was well tolerated in this study. Larger studies are required to examine for efficacy.

Concepts: Clinical trial, Medical terms, Magnesium, Magnesium sulfate, Acetylcholine, Adverse drug reaction, Organophosphate, Organophosphate poisoning


Premature birth is a sudden change of the sensory environment of a newborn, while their senses are still in development, especially in the stressful and noisy environment of the NICU. The study aimed to evaluate the effect of noise on the early tactile manual abilities of preterm infants (between 29 and 35 weeks PCA). Infants were randomly assigned to one of the two conditions: Silence and Noise. For each condition, two phases were introduced: a habituation phase (repeated presentation of the same object, prism or cylinder), followed by a test phase (presentation of the familiar or a novel object). In the Silence condition, they received the tactile habituation and test phases: In the Noise condition, they went through the same phases, while an alarm sounded. Sixty-three preterm infants were included. They displayed a strong and effective ability to memorize tactile manual information and to detect the difference between two shape features, but this ability seems to be impaired by the concomitant exposure to an alarm sound. This study is the first to highlight the effect of a negative stimulus on sensory functioning in premature infants. It reinforces the importance of developing environmental measures to lower the sound level in NICUs.

Concepts: Childbirth, Magnesium sulfate, Sensory system, Sense, Sound, Preterm birth


The neuro-protective effect of antenatal magnesium sulfate on very preterm infants has been demonstrated in good-quality randomised controlled trials and meta-analyses. Magnesium administered prior to preterm delivery crosses over to the foetal circulation and acts via several pathways to reduce perinatal neuronal damage. Meta-analysis of the trial data indicates that antenatal magnesium sulfate reduces the risk of cerebral palsy by one-third, and results in one fewer case in every 50 women treated. Treatment is associated with discomfort and flushing in some women, but maternal side-effects are mostly transient and manageable. Magnesium sulfate has also been found to be without any serious adverse consequences in newborn infants. Consensus recommendations and guidelines have been developed and implemented internationally, and endorsed by the UK Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. However, magnesium sulfate for neuro-protection of very preterm infants has not yet become established widely in UK practice. Paediatricians, neonatologists and advocacy groups for preterm infants and their families could contribute to raising awareness and engage in dissemination activities and implementation initiatives to develop local protocols for adoption of this safe, effective and cost-effective intervention to reduce the burden of cerebral palsy in children born very preterm.

Concepts: Pregnancy, Childbirth, Infant, Fetus, Magnesium sulfate, Breastfeeding, Pediatrics, Preterm birth


Babies born preterm are at an increased risk of dying in the first weeks of life, and those who survive have a higher rate of cerebral palsy (CP) compared with babies born at term. The aim of this individual participant data (IPD) meta-analysis (MA) was to assess the effects of antenatal magnesium sulphate, compared with no magnesium treatment, given to women at risk of preterm birth on important maternal and fetal outcomes, including survival free of CP, and whether effects differed by participant or treatment characteristics such as the reason the woman was at risk of preterm birth, why treatment was given, the gestational age at which magnesium sulphate treatment was received, or the dose and timing of the administration of magnesium sulphate.

Concepts: Pregnancy, Childbirth, Fetus, Life, Magnesium sulfate, Cerebral palsy, Gestational age, Preterm birth


This study aims to compare the cerebellar biochemical profiles in preterm (PT) infants evaluated at term equivalent age (TEA) and healthy full-term newborns using proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy ((1)H-MRS). We explore the associations between altered cerebellar metabolite profiles and brain injury topography, severity of injury, and prematurity-related clinical complications. We prospectively collected high quality (1)H-MRS in 59 premature infants born ≤32 weeks and 61 healthy full term controls. (1)H-MRS data were processed using LCModel software to calculate absolute metabolite concentration for N-acetyl-aspartate (NAA), choline (Cho) and creatine (Cr). PT infants had significantly lower cerebellar NAA (p < 0.025) and higher Cho (p < 0.001) at TEA when compared to healthy controls. Creatine was not different between the two groups. The presence of cerebellar injury was consistently associated with reduced concentrations for NAA, Cho, and Cr. Postnatal infection was negatively associated with NAA and Cr (p < 005), while cerebral cortical brain injury severity was inversely associated with both Cho and Cr (p < 0.01). We report for the first time that premature birth is associated with altered cerebellar metabolite profiles when compared to term born controls. Infection, cerebellar injury and supratentorial injury are important risk factors for impaired preterm cerebellar biochemistry.

Concepts: Childbirth, Magnesium sulfate, Preterm birth