By Alpha A. Fowler III, Jonathon D. Truwit, R. Duncan Hite, Peter E. Morris, Christine DeWilde, Anna Priday, Bernard Fisher, Leroy R. Thacker II, Ramesh Natarajan, Donald F. Brophy, Robin Sculthorpe, Rahul Nanchal, Aamer Syed, Jamie Sturgill, Greg S. Martin, Jonathan Sevransky, Markos Kashiouris, Stella Hamman, Katherine F. Egan, Andrei Hastings, Wendy Spencer, Shawnda Tench, Omar Mehkri, James Bindas, Abhijit Duggal, Jeanette Graf, Stephanie Zellner, Lynda Yanny, Catherine McPolin, Tonya Hollrith, David Kramer, Charles Ojielo, Tessa Damm, Evan Cassity, Aleksandra Wieliczko, Matthew Halquist. Published in JAMA. October 1, 2019.
Experimental data suggest that intravenous vitamin C may attenuate inflammation and vascular injury associated with sepsis and acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). To determine the effect of intravenous vitamin C infusion on organ failure scores and biological markers of inflammation and vascular injury in patients with sepsis and ARDS. The CITRIS-ALI trial was a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, multicenter trial conducted in 7 medical intensive care units in the United States, enrolling patients (N = 167) with sepsis and ARDS present for less than 24 hours. The study was conducted from September 2014 to November 2017, and final follow-up was January 2018. Patients were randomly assigned to receive intravenous infusion of vitamin C (50 mg/kg in dextrose 5% in water, n = 84) or placebo (dextrose 5% in water only, n = 83) every 6 hours for 96 hours. The primary outcomes were change in organ failure as assessed by a modified Sequential Organ Failure Assessment score (range, 0-20, with higher scores indicating more dysfunction) from baseline to 96 hours, and plasma biomarkers of inflammation (C-reactive protein levels) and vascular injury (thrombomodulin levels) measured at 0, 48, 96, and 168 hours. Among 167 randomized patients (mean [SD] age, 54.8 years [16.7]; 90 men [54%]), 103 (62%) completed the study to day 60. There were no significant differences between the vitamin C and placebo groups in the primary end points of change in mean modified Sequential Organ Failure Assessment score from baseline to 96 hours (from 9.8 to 6.8 in the vitamin C group [3 points] and from 10.3 to 6.8 in the placebo group [3.5 points]; difference, −0.10; 95% CI, −1.23 to 1.03; P = .86) or in C-reactive protein levels (54.1 vs 46.1 μg/mL; difference, 7.94 μg/mL; 95% CI, −8.2 to 24.11; P = .33) and thrombomodulin levels (14.5 vs 13.8 ng/mL; difference, 0.69 ng/mL; 95% CI, −2.8 to 4.2; P = .70) at 168 hours. In this preliminary study of patients with sepsis and ARDS, a 96-hour infusion of vitamin C compared with placebo did not significantly improve organ dysfunction scores or alter markers of inflammation and vascular injury. Further research is needed to evaluate the potential role of vitamin C for other outcomes in sepsis and ARDS.
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View the accompanying editorial ‘Is High-Dose Vitamin C Beneficial for Patients With Sepsis?’ By Emily B. Brant and Derek C. Angus here.