To determine the prevalence of ascorbic acid deficiency in the surgical population, whether the body mass index (BMI) has an effect on ascorbic acid concentrations; and whether an association exists between ascorbic acid deficiency and adverse surgical outcomes.
Preoperative plasma ascorbic acid concentrations were prospectively assessed in 20–60-year-old patients undergoing elective abdominal surgery. Ascorbic acid deficiency was defined as any concentration ≤0.3 mg/dL and depletion as any concentration >0.3–0.59 mg/dL.
Of the 266 patients evaluated, 167 had a BMI ≥35 kg/m2. A greater BMI was associated with lower mean ascorbic acid concentrations (P = .021). Of the 266 patients, 96 (36%) had abnormally low ascorbic acid concentrations, with 57 (21%) depleted and 39 (15%) deficient. The factors associated with decreased mean ascorbic acid concentrations included younger age (P = .004) and limited vegetable and fruit intake (P = .026). Ascorbic acid supplementation was associated with lower depletion and deficiency rates (P = .001).
Ascorbic acid depletion and deficiency occur within the surgical population. The contributing factors included younger age, limited intake of fruits and vegetables, lack of vitamin supplementation, and greater BMI. Low concentrations of ascorbic acid did not affect the surgical outcome.
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Published online: July 10, 2008
Accepted: June 26, 2008
Received in revised form: June 24, 2008
Received: April 11, 2008
This study was supported by the Gundersen Lutheran Medical Foundation.
© 2009 American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.