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This article is the authors’ final published version in Scientific Reports, Volume 11, Issue 1, July 2021, Article number 15114.

The published version is available at Copyright © Prasad et al.


Preliminary data have produced conflicting results regarding whether initial vitamin C levels in patients with severe sepsis correlate with mortality outcomes. We hypothesized that low plasma ascorbic acid or thiamine levels in severe sepsis patients admitted from the Emergency Department (ED) to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) would be associated with increased mortality and an increased incidence of shock. Retrospective analysis of a prospective database of severe sepsis patients admitted to the ICU at an urban, academic medical center. Ascorbic acid and thiamine levels were analyzed in relation to survivors vs. non-survivors and shock vs. non-shock patients. 235 patients were included; mean age, 59.4 years ± 16.8 years; male, 128 (54.5%); in-hospital mortality, 16.6% (39/235); mean APACHE3 score, 61.8 ± 22.8; mean ascorbic acid level (reference range 0.40-2.10 mg/dL), 0.23 mg/dL (95% CI 0.07-4.02); and the mean thiamine level (reference range 14.6-29.5 nmol/L), 6.0 nmol/L (95% CI 4.0-9.5). When survivors were compared to non-survivors, survivors were more likely to be male (57.7% [113/196] vs. 38.5% [15/39]) and have lower APACHE3 scores (58.2 ± 22.6 vs. 79.9 ± 16.0). For the total cohort of 235 patients, there was no statistically significant relationship between a patient's initial ascorbic acid or thiamine level and either survival or development of shock. In this analysis of early plasma samples from patients with severe sepsis admitted from the ED to the ICU, we found that mean ascorbic acid and thiamine levels were lower than normal range but that there was no relationship between these levels and outcomes, including 28 day mortality and development of shock.

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