Fatal vitamin C-associated acute renal failure

Anaesth Intensive Care. 2008 Jul;36(4):585-8. doi: 10.1177/0310057X0803600413.


Although daily ingestion of high-dose vitamin C is generally regarded as largely innocuous, fatal nephrotoxicity can occur in some rare circumstances. We report a case where the patient, who chose to forgo any advanced conventional medical intervention (dialysis and mechanical ventilation), had failed to disclose his use of high-dose vitamin C and subsequently died. Intra-renal oxalate crystal deposition was demonstrated at autopsy. Directed enquiry with the family then revealed his high-dose vitamin C usage. Even though fully-informed discussion was limited by incomplete prospective disclosure, it remains the prerogative of any competent patient to decline any treatment, including those that may be considered life-saving.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Acute Kidney Injury / chemically induced*
  • Aged
  • Ascorbic Acid / poisoning*
  • Blood Chemical Analysis
  • Critical Illness / therapy*
  • Drug Overdose
  • Fatal Outcome
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Treatment Refusal
  • Vitamins / poisoning*


  • Vitamins
  • Ascorbic Acid