Severe vitamin C deficiency in a critically ill adult: a case report

Eur J Clin Nutr. 2013 Aug;67(8):881-2. doi: 10.1038/ejcn.2013.42. Epub 2013 Apr 3.


Scurvy, a severe form of vitamin C deficiency, killed scores of people until its cause and treatment were firmly established at the end of the eighteenth century. Since then, cases have surged periodically around the world, mostly in developing countries and during times of war and famine. In developed countries, scurvy is still endemic and evidence is growing that vitamin C deficiency might affect up to 30 percent of the population. Low socio-economic status, alcoholism, severe psychiatric illness leading to poor nutrition and critical illness are significant risk factors. We hereby report the case of a patient admitted in a Swiss intensive care unit of a tertiary teaching hospital and presenting with clinical signs and symptoms of severe vitamin C deficiency.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Ascorbic Acid / blood*
  • Ascorbic Acid Deficiency / blood
  • Ascorbic Acid Deficiency / complications*
  • Critical Illness
  • Endemic Diseases
  • Humans
  • Intensive Care Units
  • Male
  • Risk Factors
  • Scurvy / blood
  • Scurvy / etiology*
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Switzerland


  • Ascorbic Acid