September 19, 2018

Vitamin C may prevent atrial fibrillation in high risk patients

Atrial fibrillation (AF) is an increasing common cardiac rhythm disturbance that can lead to stroke and congestive heart failure. It can be facilitated by inflammation and oxidative stress and in approximately 30% of patients undergoing cardiac procedures suffer from post-operative AF.

According to a study published 2 days ago in BMC Cardiovascular Disorders, researchers in Finland conducted a systematic review of vitamin C for preventing AF in high risk patients. They analyzed 14 randomized control trials consisting of 2006 patients who had cardiac surgery, and one study with 44 patients that had investigated the recurrence of AF after a successful cardioversion.

Interestingly, the 5 studies in the USA found no effect of vitamin C against post-operative AF. On the other hand, the 9 studies performed outside of the USA found a mean reduction of 44 and a study in Greece found that vitamin C decreased the risk of AF recurrence by 87%.

In addition, in the non-US studies, vitamin C reduced the length of hospital stay by 12.6% and intensive care unit stay by eight percent.

One must keep in mind that some of the surgery patients in the non-US studies were administered oral vitamin C orally whereas some in the US studies were given intravenous vitamin C.

As a result, oral vitamin C at 1-2 grams a day decreased post-operative AF by 73% and shortened the length of hospital stay by only 7%. Intravenous vitamin C only decreased AF by 36% but shortened the length of hospital stay by 16%. In conclusion, intravenous vitamin C administration had a greater on reducing the hospital stay but less effective for reducing the occurrence of post-operative AF.

Vitamin C is a very inexpensive powerful nutrient and antioxidant and should be considered for cardiac surgery patients. Other nutrients to support the disruption of metabolic processes and preserve energy substrates include a multivitamin/mineral formula, fish oil, D-ribose, CoQ10, carnitine, and magnesium.

By Michael Jurgelewicz, DC, DACBN, DCBCN, CNS

Source: Harri Hemilä, Timo Suonsyrjä. Vitamin C for preventing atrial fibrillation in high risk patients: a systematic review and meta-analysis. BMC Cardiovascular Disorders, 2017; 17 (1) DOI: 10.1186/s12872-017-0478-5

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