Perioperative supplementation with ascorbic acid does not prevent atrial fibrillation in coronary artery bypass graft patients

Paul M. Bjordahl, Stephen D. Helmer, Dawn J. Gosnell, Gail E. Wemmer, Walter W. O'Hara, Douglas J. Milfeld

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


Background: Atrial fibrillation occurs after approximately 25% to 45% of coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgeries. Oxidative stress and related electrophysiological remodeling has been proposed as a potential cause of this atrial fibrillation. Perioperative supplementation of the antioxidant ascorbic acid has been evaluated as a preventive agent. The current investigation was conducted to evaluate the efficacy of ascorbic acid in reducing atrial fibrillation in CABG patients. Methods: A prospective, randomized, placebo-controlled, triple-blind, single-institution study was conducted in nonemergency CABG patients. Subjects were monitored for episodes of arrhythmia and other complications. Results: Eighty-nine treatment and 96 control subjects completed the study protocol. Demographics, comorbidities, and preoperative drugs were similar between groups. Surgical characteristics and postoperative medication use also were similar. The incidence of atrial fibrillation was 30.3% in the treatment group and 30.2% in the control group (P =.985). No difference was found in postoperative complications or mortality. Conclusions: Our data indicate that supplementation of ascorbic acid in addition to routine postoperative care does not reduce atrial fibrillation after coronary artery bypass grafting.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)862-867
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Surgery
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2012


  • Ascorbic acid
  • Atrial fibrillation
  • Coronary artery bypass grafting
  • Postoperative arrhythmia
  • Vitamin C

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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