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Free Radic Biol Med. 1997;23(5):768-74.

The effects of intravenous antioxidants in patients with septic shock.

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Academic Unit of Anaesthesia & Intensive Care, University of Aberdeen, UK.


Oxidative stress is implicated in septic shock. We investigated the effect of intravenous antioxidant therapy on antioxidant status, lipid peroxidation, hemodynamics and nitrite in patients with septic shock. Thirty patients randomly received either antioxidants (n-acetylcysteine 150 mg/kg for 30 min then 20 mg/kg/h plus bolus doses of 1 g ascorbic acid and 400 mg alpha-tocopherol) or 5% dextrose. Basal vitamin C was low and redox-reactive iron was elevated in all patients. In the 16 patients receiving antioxidants, vitamin C increased (p = .0002) but total antioxidant capacity was unaffected. Lipid peroxides were elevated in all patients but did not increase further in the patients receiving antioxidants. Plasma total nitrite also increased (p = .007) in the antioxidant group. Heart rate increased in patients receiving antioxidants at 60 min (p = .018) and 120 min (p = .004). Cardiac index also increased at 60 min (p = .007) and 120 min (p = .05). Systemic vascular resistance index decreased at 120 min in the antioxidant treated patients (p = .003). The effect of antioxidants on hemodynamic variables has not previously been reported. Antioxidant administration may be a useful adjunct to conventional approaches in the management of septic shock.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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