BACKGROUND: Depletion of the trace elements magnesium, phosphate and zinc is common in patients admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU). Observational studies have suggested worse outcome in patients with hypomagnesaemia, hypophosphataemia or hypozincaemia, but also inverse associations with worse outcome with too high serum levels. However, it is unclear whether data from randomised clinical trials (RCTs) confirm this. Accordingly, we plan to assess the balance between benefits and harms of supplementation as compared with placebo or no supplementation in adult ICU patients.
METHODS: We will conduct a systematic review of RCTs with meta-analysis and trial sequential analysis in accordance with the Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions, the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis (PRISMA) statement and the Grading of Recommendation, Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE) approach. We will assess the effects of any supplementation with magnesium, phosphate or zinc vs. placebo or no treatment in adult ICU patients. We will systematically search the Cochrane CENTRAL, Embase, PubMed, and for unpublished trials: ClinicalTrials.gov, the EU clinical Trials Register and the WHO International Clinical Trials Registry Platform. The primary outcomes will be days alive without mechanical ventilation and overall mortality. Secondary outcomes include use for mechanical ventilation, tachy-arrhythmias, use of vasopressors, length of hospital stay and use of renal replacement therapy.
DISCUSSION: The benefits and harms of supplementation therapy with magnesium, phosphate and zinc in general ICU patients are unknown. This outlined systematic review will provide data on the evidence, on which future recommendations for supplementation may be founded.