Atrial fibrillation (AF) is an increasingly common cardiac rhythm disturbance that can lead to stroke and congestive heart failure. It can be facilitated by inflammation and oxidative stress, and approximately 30% of patients undergoing cardiac procedures suffer from post-operative AF.
According to a study published two 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, along with one study involving 44 patients where the recurrence of AF after a successful cardioversion was investigated.Interestingly, the five studies in the US found no effect of vitamin C against post-operative AF. On the other hand, the nine studies performed outside of the US found a mean reduction of 44%, while 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 hospital stay length by 12.6% and intensive care unit stay by 8%.
It is important to note that some of the surgery patients in the non-US studies were administered oral vitamin C, whereas some were given intravenous vitamin C.
As a result, oral vitamin C at 1-2 grams per 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 effect on reducing the hospital stay but was 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