The effects of intravenous antioxidants in patients with septic shock

Helen F. Galley*, Peter D. Howdle, Barry E. Walker, Nigel R. Webster

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

192 Citations (Scopus)


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 α-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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)768-774
Number of pages7
JournalFree Radical Biology and Medicine
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 10 Sept 1997

Bibliographical note

We are grateful to the intensive care staff for their help in performing this study, and to Yorkshire Health for financial support.
This study was funded by Yorkshire Health under their locally organized grant scheme.


  • Antioxidants
  • N-acetyl cysteine
  • Septic
  • Septicemia
  • Shock
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin E


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