Vitamin C trialled as life-saving treatment intensive care patients with sepsis

June 12, 2018 by Kim Thomas, University of Otago
Vitamin C trialled as life-saving treatment intensive care patients with sepsis
Associate Professor Carr says sepsis is the main cause of death in the ICU. Credit: University of Otago

University of Otago, Christchurch researchers are teaming up with intensive care specialists to study whether intravenous infusions of vitamin C could be a life-saving treatment for patients with sepsis.

Associate Professor Anitra Carr recently started the New Zealand-first study in the Christchurch Intensive Care Unit (ICU). It follows two small clinical trials overseas that reported an almost 80 per cent drop in mortality from the life-threatening condition. The results from using the natural product as a medicine were considered by many to be too good to be true, so the Christchurch project will rigorously test these findings.

Sepsis is a life-threatening complication where the body's response own response to infection actually damages its tissues and organs. If sepsis progresses to , blood pressure drops dramatically, and organs fail.

Associate Professor Carr says sepsis is the main cause of death in the ICU. It causes the death of one in five New Zealand ICU patients. Although rates are increasing, options are limited.

Patients with septic shock are often given drugs to stabilize their cardiovascular function. Associate Professor Carr hypothesises that cardiac dysfunction, and resulting drug treatments, could be avoided if patients had appropriate vitamin C levels. When sepsis patients experience cardiac problems, they are often given drugs to stimulate the cardiovascular system. Vitamin C is potentially involved in a similar natural process, and if levels were high enough patients might not need as much medication, she says.

The Christchurch research team will study whether people with sepsis who get the vitamin to are more likely to survive and have a better recovery than those who get conventional treatment. The group of who get vitamin C will also get conventional treatments.

Associate Professor Carr and her team will also study whether the patient's base level C levels relate to the severity of their disease and progression of .

Explore further: Study into vitamin C's effectiveness in treating intensive care patients

Related Stories

Study into vitamin C's effectiveness in treating intensive care patients

May 6, 2016
A Christchurch researcher is doing New Zealand's first study of vitamin C's potential as a treatment for intensive care patients with sepsis.

Surviving sepsis campaign update focuses on critical first hour

May 17, 2018
For patients with sepsis, a serious infection causing widespread inflammation, immediate treatment is essential to improve the chances of survival. An updated "Hour-1 Bundle" of the international, evidence-based guidelines ...

Readily available drug cocktail can help prevent sepsis shock and death

June 26, 2017
Sepsis presents a major challenge for health care providers, especially in low-income countries where the mortality rate can exceed 60 percent. Even in advanced medical settings, sepsis is still very dangerous and accounts ...

Putting the brakes on sepsis

May 10, 2018
Sepsis—an extreme response to infection—can cause damage to multiple organ systems when it triggers an uncontrolled inflammatory response.

Approach to deadly sepsis infections continues to vary

September 12, 2014
Treatment practices for patients hospitalised with the potentially fatal infection known as "sepsis" will continue to vary because of individual differences between hospitals and countries, according to University of Adelaide ...

Research aims to fine-tune sepsis diagnosis

February 20, 2018
Work designed to improve diagnosis of one of the leading causes of death in children is under way in Brisbane, led by a University of Queensland researcher.

Recommended for you

Researchers cure drug-resistant infections without antibiotics

October 17, 2018
Biochemists, microbiologists, drug discovery experts and infectious disease doctors have teamed up in a new study that shows antibiotics are not always necessary to cure sepsis in mice. Instead of killing causative bacteria ...

How drug resistant TB evolved and spread globally

October 17, 2018
The most common form of Mycobacterium tuberculosis (TB) originated in Europe and spread to Asia, Africa and the Americas with European explorers and colonialists, reveals a new study led by UCL and the Norwegian Institute ...

Infectious disease consultation significantly reduces mortality of patients with bloodstream yeast infections

October 17, 2018
In a retrospective cohort study conducted at the University of Alabama at Birmingham Division of Infectious Diseases, patients with candidemia—a yeast infection in the bloodstream—had more positive outcomes as they relate ...

Marker may help target treatments for Crohn's patients

October 16, 2018
Crohn's disease (CD), a chronic inflammatory condition of the intestinal tract, has emerged as a global disease, with rates steadily increasing over the last 50 years. Experts have long suspected that CD likely represents ...

Study traces hospital-acquired bloodstream infections to patients' own bodies

October 15, 2018
The most common source of a bloodstream infection acquired during a hospital stay is not a nurse's or doctor's dirty hands, or another patient's sneeze or visitor's cough, but the patient's own gut, Stanford University School ...

Polio: Environmental monitoring will be key as world reaches global eradication

October 15, 2018
Robust environmental monitoring should be used as the world approaches global eradication of polio, say University of Michigan researchers who recently studied the epidemiology of the 2013 silent polio outbreak in Rahat, ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.