Antioxidants post cardiac surgery cut hospital stay

VITAMINS C and E could play a role in ensuring a smoother and less costly recovery for cardiac surgery patients, research suggests.

A meta-analysis of five randomised controlled trials involving a total 567 patients found those who took the antioxidant supplements spent less time in intensive care and had shorter hospital stays.

They were also around half as likely to experience post-operative atrial fibrillation and all-cause arrhythmia than recovering patients who did not take the vitamins. 

Up to 60% of cardiac patients experience post-operative AF, which, while often self-limiting with therapy, does carry an increased risk of cardiac death or disabling injury, the researchers said.

“This meta-analysis suggests that prophylactic use of antioxidant vitamins C and E significantly reduces the incidence of [post-operative] AF and all-cause arrhythmia following cardiac surgery,” the authors wrote, while calling for more

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