A significant body of evidence suggests that antioxidant vitamins, especially vitamin C, have an important role in preventing a number of complications after certain operations, including cardiac surgery.
The incidence of irregular heartbeat is as high as 30% in patients undergoing heart surgery and is partly attributed to oxidative stress. Measures that can render protection against the increased risk of atrial fibrillation after a cardiac surgery are essential. Antioxidants that potentially relieve the oxidative stress might be useful alternatives to tackle such concerns.
A researcher duo reviewed the existing studies related to vitamin C (known to be a powerful antioxidant) to understand its role in prevention of atrial fibrillation in high-risk patients. The review included 15 studies involving 2050 patients who had undergone cardiac surgery. While five of these studies showed no protective effect of vitamin C against atrial fibrillation, nine studies demonstrated that use of vitamin C reduced the risk of developing post-operative atrial fibrillation by 44%.
Vitamin C thus seems to be a safe and low-cost essential nutrient to have a valuable role in the management of cardiac surgery patients.
Owen R. Fonorow, Orthomolecular Naturopath
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