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Antioxidants May Save Critically Injured Patients

According to a study published in the October 2008 edition of the journal Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition antioxidants can significantly decrease the risk of organ failure and death in critically injured patients.

The study followed 4,294 patients admitted to Vanderbilt University Medical Center trauma unit between 2005 and 2006. Of these critically injured patients, 2,200 were administered high doses of antioxidants for a period of seven days following surgery.

The patients were given 1,000mg of vitamin C and 1,000 IU of vitamin E orally every eight hours, and 200mcg of selenium once a day intravenously.

The group was then compared to the remaining 2,000 patients admitted to the hospital in critical condition. These patients acted as a control and received no antioxidant treatment following surgery.

The researchers found that there was a 28 percent reduction in mortality for patients that received antioxidants. Participants administered antioxidants also spent an average of one day less in the hospital before being released.

Previous research has shown that antioxidant levels in critically injured patients are quickly depleted, particularly following surgery. This can result in cell and tissue damage caused by free radicals and even lead to organ failure and death.

According to these results, antioxidant therapy may help replenish antioxidant levels which neutralize free radicals and reduce the risk of infection and death among critically injured patients.

The researchers also note that while antioxidants aren't a magic bullet, they could be a safe and inexpensive way to increase the likelihood of survival for critically injured patients.
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