Magnesium - faeces

Last updated: Thursday, 18, March, 2004

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Item Process
Specimen

24 hour faecal collection.

Method

Atomic absorption spectrophotometry, spectrophotometry.

Reference Interval

<45 mmol/L; <15 mmol/24 hours.

Application

Identification of magnesium-containing laxatives as the cause of diarrhoea.

Documentation of increased loss of magnesium from the gut as a cause of hypomagnesaemia.

Interpretation

Patients with diarrhoea due to surreptitious self-administration of magnesium-containing laxatives show increased faecal magnesium, as do patients with hypomagnesaemia due to magnesium loss from the gut.

ReferenceFine KD et al. N Engl J Med 1991; 324: 1012-1017.