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Sepsis kills nearly 1 million people each year in the United States and sepsis-related hospitalizations cost approximately $24 billion annually (Paoli, Reynolds, Sinha, Gitlin, & Crouser, 2018). Current treatment guidelines are limited to targeted antibiotics and hemodynamic support. While antibiotics are the definitive treatment to eradicate the infectious pathogen, there are currently no standard-of-care treatments that consistently and successfully attenuate the damage sustained to the body by its own inflammatory response to infection. Many different treatments have been trialed and failed to show improved outcomes. Vitamin C, or ascorbic acid, has long been associated with supporting immune function, and has been studied in the past in various related capacities. More recently, a study initiated by Dr. Paul Marik has spurred much discussion and additional research regarding the potential use of ascorbic acid as an adjunctive treatment for sepsis patients. Research suggests that it may reduce damage by reducing oxidative stress, regulate the body’s immune response, and facilitating the production of endogenous vasopressin. Discussion will include the mechanism of action of ascorbic acid in the body, its potential role, efficacy, and safety in the treatment of sepsis, as well as additional treatment components. Also discussed is the cost in both dollars and mortality, of waiting to implement the widespread use of what appears in some studies to be a low-cost, low-risk, high reward treatment.
Physician Assistant Studies
Date of Work
Ascorbic Acid, Sepsis, Vitamin C, oxidative stress, endogenous vasopressin, systemic infection
Medicine and Health Sciences
Hiatt, Lindsey, "Parenteral Ascorbic Acid for Treatment of Sepsis" (2019). Physician Assistant Scholarly Project Posters. 186.