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Respirology. 2009 Nov;14(8):1180-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1440-1843.2009.01622.x. Epub 2009 Sep 16.

Serum trace element levels in COPD patient: the relation between trace element supplementation and period of mechanical ventilation in a randomized controlled trial.

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Chest Department, Faculty of Medicine, Ain Shams University, Cairo, Egypt.



Many trace elements play important roles in activating or inhibiting enzymatic reactions, by competing with other elements and metalloproteins for binding sites, by affecting the permeability of cell membranes and by other mechanisms. They play important roles in the oxidant/antioxidant balance. As such, trace elements are thought to be involved directly or indirectly in the pathogenesis of several diseases. The aim of the present study is to investigate the effect trace elements (Se, Mn and Zn) intravenously administered on the period the COPD patients spend on mechanical ventilation.


In a randomized double-blinded controlled trial a set of 120 subjects (40 normal volunteers and 80 COPD) were recruited. Serum concentration levels of Se, Mn and Zn were determined for all enrolled subjects with Inductively Coupled Plasma spectroscopy. COPD patients received intravenous supplementation of the above trace elements and the period the patients spent on mechanical ventilation was determined.


There was a significant reduction (P = 0.013) in the period the patients with COPD spent on the mechanical ventilation when received intravenous supplementation (9.4 +/- 7.3 days) compared with the COPD patients who received placebo (17.8 +/- 7.6 days).


Trace element (Se, Mn and Zn) status is altered in critically ill patients with COPD. The supplementation achieved a reduction in the period those patients spent on the mechanical ventilation. A larger multi-centre trial is required to confirm this preventive effect and to explore its applicability to other critical care conditions.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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