Intensive Care Medicine

, Volume 37, Issue 5, pp 808–815 | Cite as

High-dose selenium substitution in sepsis: a prospective randomized clinical trial

  • Jiri ValentaEmail author
  • Helena Brodska
  • Tomas Drabek
  • Jan Hendl
  • Antonin Kazda



Systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS) and sepsis remain the leading cause of death in the critically ill. A reduction in the antioxidant capacity, including selenoenzymes that are dependent on selenium (Se), could be a contributing factor. Se supplementation in septic patients have yielded conflicting results. We hypothesized that a high-dose Se supplementation would (1) improve markers of inflammation, nutrition and antioxidant defence, and (2) decrease mortality.


This prospective, randomized, open-label, single-centre clinical trial included 150 patients with SIRS/sepsis and a SOFA score of >5. Patients in the Se+ group (n = 75) received Se for 14 days (1,000 μg on day 1,500 μg/day on days 2–14). Patients in both the control (Se−) group (n = 75) and the Se+ group received a standard Se dose (<75 μg/day). Plasma Se, whole-blood glutathione peroxidase (GPx) activity, C-reactive protein (CRP), procalcitonin (PCT), albumin, prealbumin and cholesterol levels, along with APACHE II and SOFA scores, were determined at baseline and on days 1–7 and day 14. Mortality was assessed at day 28.


Plasma Se and GPx activity were increased in the Se+ group from day 1 onwards. Negative correlations were demonstrated between plasma Se, CRP (P = 0.035), PCT (P = 0.022) and SOFA (P = 0.001) at admission but not on days 7 or 14. Prealbumin and cholesterol increased in the Se+ group versus the respective baselines. Mortality was similar between groups, with no gender differences.


High-dose Se substitution in patients with SIRS/sepsis increased plasma Se and GPx levels, but did not reduce mortality. Markers of inflammation were reduced similarly in both groups.


Selenium Systemic inflammatory response syndrome Sepsis Organ failure Glutathione peroxidase C-reactive protein Procalcitonin Prealbumin Antioxidants 


Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Supplementary material

134_2011_2153_MOESM1_ESM.doc (178 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 178 kb)


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Copyright information

© Copyright jointly held by Springer and ESICM 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jiri Valenta
    • 1
    Email author
  • Helena Brodska
    • 2
  • Tomas Drabek
    • 3
  • Jan Hendl
    • 4
  • Antonin Kazda
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Anaesthesiology, Resuscitation and Intensive Care, First Faculty of MedicineCharles University in Prague and General University Hospital in PraguePrague 2Czech Republic
  2. 2.Institute of Clinical Biochemistry, First Faculty of MedicineCharles University in Prague and General University Hospital in PraguePragueCzech Republic
  3. 3.Department of AnesthesiologyUniversity of Pittsburgh School of MedicinePittsburghUSA
  4. 4.Department of Kinanthropology, First Faculty of MedicineCharles University in PraguePragueCzech Republic

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