Accelerated recovery and fewer complications after heart surgery with extra vitamin C
If patients who have to undergo heart surgery receive extra vitamin C for 5 days, their risk of infection and death is reduced. In addition, they can leave the hospital a few days earlier.
Cardiologists from Iran University of Medical Sciences experimented with 290 patients undergoing heart surgery. Some of these patients received 2 grams of vitamin C through an IV just before the operation and took 1 gram of vitamin C daily for the first 4 days after the procedure.
After heart surgery, patients stay in the ICU for a few days and then move to a regular nursing ward. The researchers recorded whether supplementation shortened the stay in the ICU or a nursing ward and whether supplementation reduced the risk of complications.
Vitamin C supplementation reduced the number of hours that doctors had to intubate the test subjects. This means that doctors used a tube in the patients' lungs to pump out blood and other fluid so that the patients could continue to breathe. Supplementation also reduced the amount of fluid the intabutors had to remove during the first 24 hours after surgery.
Intubation is a serious procedure that increases the risk of adverse events such as infection and death. It is not surprising that supplementation with vitamin C reduced the risk of these adverse events by a factor of 3.
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Thanks to supplementation, the test subjects were able to go home 2 days earlier than the test subjects in the control group.
"This large, randomized prospective trial in a cohort of cardiac surgery patients suggests benefit from the routine early, prophylactic administration of vitamin C", the researchers summarize. "Also, the lack of adverse effects, coupled with the minimal expense, supports the notion that this supplementation is a reasonable therapeutic intervention in cardiac surgery patients."
"Vitamin C supplementation can decrease some postoperative complications and the length of hospital stay in patients undergoing cardiac surgery."
Anesth Pain Med. 2015 Feb 19;5(1):e25337.
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