Selenium supplementation for sepsis: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials

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Recently, several studies were conducted to investigate the effect of selenium supplementation in septic patients. However, no consistent conclusion was made. Thus, we aimed to systematically summarize the available randomized controlled trials (RCTs) to evaluate the effect of selenium supplementation on important clinical outcomes in septic patients.


A systematic literature search of Pubmed, Embase, and the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials was conducted (up to August 25, 2012). RCTs were included if they reported the effect of selenium supplementation on the treatment of septic patients. A fixed-effect model was used, and in the case of significant heterogeneity, a random-effects model was employed.


Five studies with a total of 530 patients were included. Pooled analysis showed that selenium supplementation did not reduce all-cause mortality (relative risk [RR] = 0.89, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.73-1.07, P = .21), hospital-acquired pneumonia (RR = 1.15, 95% CI: 0.73-1.82, P = .55), or length of intensive care unit stay (weighted mean differences = 2.32 days, 95% CI: −0.05 to 4.69; P = .05). In addition, no significant difference was observed regarding adverse events between groups (RR = 0.97, 95% CI: 0.72-1.33, P = .87).


The present meta-analysis showed no benefit of selenium supplementation in patients with sepsis. Due to the limited number of RCTs included, more prospective multicenter clinical trials on selenium therapy in septic patients are warranted in the future.

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