BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS. Surgery-induced arteriosclerosis is a serious problem in heart transplant patients and is now the single most important factor in determining long-term survival. Researchers at the Brigham and Women's Hospital and the Linus Pauling Institute in Oregon believe that the accelerated arteriosclerosis is due to oxidative stress initiated at the transplant operation. They speculated that, if this is indeed the case, then supplementing heart transplant patients with vitamins C and E should prevent or slow the development of arteriosclerosis. Their clinical trial included 40 recent transplant patients who were randomly assigned to receive either a placebo or 500 mg of vitamin C plus 400 IU of vitamin E twice daily for a year. The degree of thickening (intimal index) of the coronary artery was measured using intravascular ultrasonography at the beginning and end of the study. The researchers found that the intimal index had increased by only 0.8 per cent in the vitamin group as compared to 8 per cent in the placebo group. They conclude that supplementing with vitamin E and vitamin C may not only prevent transplant-induced arteriosclerosis, but may also be helpful in kidney, lung and liver transplants.
Fang, James C., et al. Effect of vitamins C and E on progression of transplant-associated arteriosclerosis: a randomised trial. The Lancet, Vol. 359, March 30, 2002, pp. 1108-13