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Effect of Vitamin C on serum cortisol reduction after Etomidate Induction of Anesthesia

Navid Nooraee, Mohammad Fathi, Leila Edalat, Faranak Behnaz, Seyed Amir Mohajerani, Ali Dabbagh




Objectives: Etomidate is suitable for induction of anesthesia, especially in elderly patients and patients who have cardiovascular compromise. Vitamin C has been introduced as a treatment option to decrease Etomidate induced adrenal insufficiency but its actual effect is still controversial. Objective is to determine the effect of Vitamin C on reduction of serum cortisol after etomidate induction of anesthesia.

Methods: In a randomized clinical trial, 40 patients of ASA class I & II, aged between 25 to 70 years old, candidate for elective laparatomy were selected. One hour before induction of surgery, 1 gram of intravenous Vitamin C were administered to the patients in Vitamin C group. Two blood samples were obtained 5 minutes before induction and then another sample 4 hours after induction with etomidate after surgery. All samples were measured for serum free cortisol, ACTH, and C-reactive protein (CRP).

Results: There were no significant differences between duration of surgery, preoperative and post-operative blood pressure and heart rate in two groups (p>0.05). Serum cortisol was significantly declined in control group from 16.2±6.3 μg/dl in preoperative to 8.5±4.2 in postop (p=0.0005), but not in Vitamin C group from 17.5±5.6 in preop to 16.8±6.4 in postop (p=0.75). ACTH levels increased non-significantly from preop to postop period in both Vitamin C (pre: 52.1±15 vs. post: 56.4±18 pg/ml) (p=0.48) and in control group (pre:50.5±16 vs. post:56.2±20).

Conclusion: Etomidate could significantly decrease postoperative serum free cortisol and induce adrenocortical suppression and CRP increase. This effect could be reversed by using Vitamin C premedication to maintain serum cortisol at preoperative level.


ACTH, Cortisol, Etomidate, Vitamin C


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.22037/jcma.v1i1.10149


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