BACKGROUND: Open AAA repair is associated with ischaemia-reperfusion injury where systemic inflammation and endothelial dysfunction can lead to multiple organ injury including acute lung injury. Oxidative stress plays a role that may be inhibited by ascorbic acid.
METHODS: A double blind, allocation concealed, randomized placebo-controlled trial was performed to test the hypothesis that a single bolus dose (2g) of intra-operative parenteral ascorbic acid would attenuate biomarkers of ischaemia-reperfusion injury in patients undergoing elective open AAA repair.
RESULTS: Thirty one patients completed the study; 18 received placebo and 13 ascorbic acid. Groups were comparable demographically. Open AAA repair caused an increase in urinary Albumin:Creatinine Ratio (ACR) as well as plasma IL-6 and IL-8. There was a decrease in exhaled breath pH and oxygenation. Lipid hydroperoxides were significantly higher in the ascorbic acid group following open AAA repair. There were no other differences between the ascorbic acid or placebo groups up to 4 hours after removal of the aortic clamping.
CONCLUSIONS: Open AAA repair caused an increase in markers of systemic endothelial damage and systemic inflammation. Administration of 2g parenteral ascorbic acid did not attenuate this response and with higher levels of lipid hydroperoxides post-operatively a pro-oxidant effect could not be excluded.
TRIAL REGISTRATION: ISRCTN27369400.