For some reason, perhaps related to the use of potassium cyanide on death row, the medical profession and a large part of the general public view any oral or intravenous use of potassium with suspicion, if not outright fear. An example is the fact that it is unlawful to manufacture and sell multivitamins, and specific potassium supplements, containing more than 99 mg of potassium per tablet. This is clearly ridiculous in view of the fact that the recommended daily intake of potassium (elemental) is 4700 mg. A study from the Netherlands concluded that the average daily intake in the US and Canada is 2800 and 3000 mg/day respectively – well short of the recommended 4700 mg. The Dutch researchers estimate that attaining the recommended intake could reduce the risk of dying from a stroke or heart disease by 8 - 15% and 6 - 11% respectively (Archives of Internal Medicine, Vol. 170, No. 16, September 13, 2010, pp. 1501-02). Of course, many afibbers, myself included, have found potassium supplementation hugely beneficial in banishing PVCs, PACs, and even afib itself.
Now a group of German researchers report that intravenous infusion of a magnesium/potassium solution prior to cardioversion of persistent AF reduces the shock energy required to achieve normal sinus rhythm, and improves the immediate success rate of the procedure. This new study lends further credence to our long held belief that being replete in magnesium and potassium prior to cardioversion is extremely important.
Also in this issue – inflammation and impaired blood flow through the left atrial appendage increases the risk of clot formation, clinical trial results of two new anticoagulants
(rivaroxaban and apixaban), yoga helps prevent AF episodes, and the use of proton pump inhibitors such as Nexium (esomeprazole) can lead to severe magnesium deficiency.