The role of magnesium in drownings in the dead sea

R. Yagil, Z. Etzion, A. Oren, A. Kenan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


1. 1. Following several cases of drowning in the Dead Sea, where hypermagnesemia was a pertinent finding, laboratory animals were used to elucidate the pathophysiology of the drownings. 2. 2. To eliminate aspiration of water into the lungs as being the cause of drowning, Dead Sea water was instilled directly into the stomach. Directly following the gavage with Dead Sea water the animals went into a coma-like state. 3. 3. Healthy animals survived the initial shock, but those with renal insufficiency ( 5 6 nephrectomized) died within minutes. There was an increased urinary excretion of calcium and decreased excretion of phosphate, indicating a possible decrease in parathyroid secretion due to the hypermagnesemia. 4. 4. The state of coma was attributed to the combined elevation of both blood magnesium and bromide. As magnesium on its own or bromide on its own, in the same concentrations as in the Dead Sea water, did not cause the same metabolic changes, it is concluded that the extraordinary composition of the Dead Sea water caused the drastic effects. 5. 5. First there was a chemical destruction of the alimentary mucosa, which caused the influx of the hyperosmotic water. This is rectified if the kidneys are physiologically functional.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)99-106
Number of pages8
JournalComparative Biochemistry and Physiology -- Part A: Physiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 1982

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology


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