Association between hypophosphatemia and cardiac arrhythmias in the early stages of sepsis

Andrei Schwartz, Gabriel M. Gurman, Gizella Cohen, Harel Gilutz, Silviu Brill, Markus Schily, Boris Gurevitch, Yehuda Shoenfeld

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    43 Scopus citations


    Background: The purpose of this study was to evaluate a possible association between serum phosphate levels and the incidence of cardiac arrhythmias in the early stages of sepsis. Methods: We conducted a prospective, controlled study in the General Intensive Care Unit (GICU) of a university hospital. Sixteen patients with sepsis, but without any previous cardiac disease, were studied during their first 24 h in the GICU. Patients were connected to a continuous ECG recording device. Blood samples for serum phosphate level determinations were drawn during the first 6 h after admission to the unit. Results: Ten of 16 patients had 21 episodes of atrial and ventricular arrhythmias. These patients had higher mean Apache II scores (20.2±6.2) than the six patients without arrhythmias (13.2±1.7; P<0.05) and significantly lower mean phosphate levels (0.73±0.16 vs. 1.02±0.32 mmol/l; P<0.03). No association was found between serum phosphate levels and mortality among patients with arrhythmias, or when all survivors (with and without arrhythmia) were compared to all non-survivors. Conclusions: The results indicate that patients with sepsis and low serum phosphate levels are at a greater risk of developing cardiac arrhythmias. We suggest that phosphate supplementation in the early stages of sepsis may prevent cardiac arrhythmias.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)434-438
    Number of pages5
    JournalEuropean Journal of Internal Medicine
    Issue number7
    StatePublished - 1 Oct 2002


    • Cardiac arrhythmias
    • Hypophosphatemia
    • Sepsis

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Internal Medicine


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