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Vitamin C reduces atrial fibrillation recurrence

Oral vitamin C appears to reduce the risk of early recurrence of atrial fibrillation, after patients undergo electrical cardioversion.

Vitamin C reduces atrial fibrillation recurrence

Oral vitamin C appears to reduce the risk of early recurrence of abnormal health rhythm, known as atrial fibrillation, after patients undergo electrical cardioversion. Vitamin C also appears to reduce the low-level inflammation that accompanies this condition. Researchers from the 'G. Hatzikosta' General Hospital in Ioannina, Greece found that early atrial fibrillation recurrence after cardioversion may be due to electrophysiological changes in the chambers of the heart, known as atrial remodeling. Animal studies have shown vitamin C can help prevent such remodeling and the vitamin has been shown to reduce atrial fibrillation after cardiac surgery. To investigate whether vitamin C can reduce atrial fibrillation recurrence, the team randomized 44 consecutive patients who had undergone cardioversion for persistent atrial fibrillation to standard therapy plus oral vitamin C or standard treatment only. Patients given the vitamin received a 2-gram loading dose 12 hours before cardioversion and 500 mg twice daily for the next seven days. One (4.5 percent) of the patients given vitamin C had a relapse of atrial fibrillation, while eight (36.3 percent) of patients not given the vitamin did. The researchers also found that white blood cell levels and fibrinogen levels fell significantly in the group given vitamin C, but did not drop in the control patients. Markers of inflammation were also significantly higher among patients who had a recurrence of atrial fibrillation, compared with those who did not. Extensive damage has been identified in the hearts of atrial fibrillation patients, and there is also increasing evidence for a link between atrial fibrillation and inflammation. The findings show approaches targeting the oxidative damage and inflammation involved in atrial fibrillation are worth pursuing.
International Journal of Cardiology,
August 2005
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