Sepsis is a devastating disease that carries an enormous toll in terms of human suffering and lives lost. Over 100 novel pharmacologic agents that targeted specific molecules or pathways have failed to improve the outcome of sepsis. Preliminary data suggests that the combination of Hydrocortisone, Ascorbic Acid and Thiamine (HAT therapy) may reduce organ failure and mortality in patients with sepsis and septic shock. HAT therapy is based on the concept that a combination of readily available, safe and cheap agents, which target multiple components of the host's response to an infectious agent, will synergistically restore the dysregulated immune response and thereby prevent organ failure and death. This paper reviews the rationale for HAT therapy with a focus on vitamin C.
Keywords: ascorbic acid; hydrocortisone; sepsis; septic shock; thiamine; vitamin C.