Early ascorbic acid depletion is related to the severity of acute pancreatitis

Br J Surg. 1999 Oct;86(10):1296-301. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2168.1999.01182.x.


Background: Ascorbic acid (AA) is an important endogenous antioxidant in plasma and has been shown to be decreased at the time of hospital admission in patients with acute pancreatitis. The aim of this study was to determine whether plasma AA concentration continues to decrease after admission and whether the extent of decrease is related to the severity of pancreatitis.

Methods: Consecutive patients with mild (n = 62) and severe (n = 23) acute pancreatitis had plasma AA concentration measured on the day of recruitment and on days 2 and 5 by high-performance liquid chromatography.

Results: The plasma AA concentration in patients with acute pancreatitis was significantly less than that in normal volunteers on days 0, 2 and 5 (P < 0.0001) and this was more marked in those with severe disease. There was a decrease in plasma AA concentration from day 0 to day 2 in patients with mild (P < 0.0001) and severe (P = 0.0005) pancreatitis, and from day 2 to day 5 in patients with severe pancreatitis (P = 0.023).

Conclusion: Endogenous plasma AA continues to decrease over the first 5 days in hospital and the extent is related to the severity of acute pancreatitis. Presented to a meeting of the Australasian Surgical Research Society, Auckland, New Zealand, August 1995 and published in abstract form as Aust N Z J Surg 1996; 66: 243

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Ascorbic Acid / blood*
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pancreatitis / blood*
  • Pancreatitis / etiology
  • Pancreatitis / urine
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Biomarkers
  • Ascorbic Acid