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Vitamin C Can Shorten the Length of Stay in the ICU: A Meta-Analysis

1
Department of Public Health, University of Helsinki, POB 41, FI-00014 Helsinki, Finland
2
School of Public Health, University of Sydney, Sydney 2006, Australia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Nutrients 2019, 11(4), 708; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11040708
Received: 30 January 2019 / Revised: 12 March 2019 / Accepted: 18 March 2019 / Published: 27 March 2019
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Abstract

A number of controlled trials have previously found that in some contexts, vitamin C can have beneficial effects on blood pressure, infections, bronchoconstriction, atrial fibrillation, and acute kidney injury. However, the practical significance of these effects is not clear. The purpose of this meta-analysis was to evaluate whether vitamin C has an effect on the practical outcomes: length of stay in the intensive care unit (ICU) and duration of mechanical ventilation. We identified 18 relevant controlled trials with a total of 2004 patients, 13 of which investigated patients undergoing elective cardiac surgery. We carried out the meta-analysis using the inverse variance, fixed effect options, using the ratio of means scale. In 12 trials with 1766 patients, vitamin C reduced the length of ICU stay on average by 7.8% (95% CI: 4.2% to 11.2%; p = 0.00003). In six trials, orally administered vitamin C in doses of 1–3 g/day (weighted mean 2.0 g/day) reduced the length of ICU stay by 8.6% (p = 0.003). In three trials in which patients needed mechanical ventilation for over 24 hours, vitamin C shortened the duration of mechanical ventilation by 18.2% (95% CI 7.7% to 27%; p = 0.001). Given the insignificant cost of vitamin C, even an 8% reduction in ICU stay is worth exploring. The effects of vitamin C on ICU patients should be investigated in more detail. View Full-Text
Keywords: antioxidants; burns; artificial respiration; cardiac surgical procedures; cardiovascular system; critical care; dietary supplements; oxidative stress; sepsis; systematic review antioxidants; burns; artificial respiration; cardiac surgical procedures; cardiovascular system; critical care; dietary supplements; oxidative stress; sepsis; systematic review
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Hemilä, H.; Chalker, E. Vitamin C Can Shorten the Length of Stay in the ICU: A Meta-Analysis. Nutrients 2019, 11, 708.

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