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Cardiology Research and Practice
Volume 2011, Article ID 164078, 8 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.4061/2011/164078
Review Article

Antioxidant Vitamins in the Prevention of Atrial Fibrillation: What Is the Evidence?

1Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery, St George's Hospital, London SW17 0QT, UK
2Department of Cardiology, Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, MD 21209, USA
3Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery, Imperial College Healthcare, London W12 0HS, UK
4Department of Cardiac Surgery, St Thomas' Hospital, London SE1 7EH, UK

Received 23 December 2010; Accepted 19 May 2011

Academic Editor: Alawi A. Alsheikh-Ali

Copyright © 2011 Sonia Rasoli et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common sustained arrhythmia that is associated with significant morbidity and mortality. Current available therapies remain inadequate in symptom control and secondary prevention and are often associated with significant side effects. The mechanisms underlying the pathogenesis of AF are poorly understood, although electrophysiological remodeling has been described as an important initiating step. Recently, increasing evidence implicates oxidative stress and inflammation in the pathogenesis of AF. We searched the literature for evidence to support the use of antioxidant vitamins C and E in the prevention of AF. These vitamins, through their reactive-oxygen-species- (ROS-) scavenging effect, have shown a role in AF prevention in both animal and small clinical studies. The available evidence, however, is currently insufficient to support recommendations for their use in the wider patient population. Larger-scale clinical studies are required to confirm these preliminary results. Research is also required to further the understanding of the processes involved in the pathogenesis of AF and the role of antioxidant therapies to prevent the arrhythmia.