Review shows vitamin C can shorten the duration of mechanical ventilation by an average of 25 percent

The administration of vitamin C shortens the length of mechanical ventilation in critically ill patients, according to a review recently published in the Journal of Intensive Care.

Harri Hemilä, M.D., Ph.D., from the University of Helsinki, and Elizabeth Chalker, from the University of Sydney, conducted a systematic literature search to identify controlled trials that analyzed the effect of vitamin C on ventilation time among patients in the intensive care unit.

Based on eight studies (685 patients) included in the meta-analysis, the researchers found that vitamin C shortened the length of mechanical ventilation on average by 14 percent. Significant heterogeneity in the effect of vitamin C existed between the trials, which was fully explained by the ventilation time in the untreated control group. For patients with the longest ventilation, corresponding to the most severely ill patients, vitamin C was most beneficial. Among 471 patients (in five trials) requiring ventilation for more than 10 hours, a dosage of 1 to 6 g/day of vitamin C shortened ventilation time on average by 25 percent.

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