Background: Patients with sepsis syndrome commonly have low serum selenium levels. Several randomized controlled trials have examined the efficacy of selenium supplementation on mortality in patients with sepsis.
Objective: To determine the efficacy and safety of high-dose selenium supplementation compared to placebo for the reduction of mortality in patients with sepsis.
Sources of Data: We searched Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, MEDLINE, EMBASE, SciFinder, and Clinicaltrials.gov.
Selection Criteria: Randomized controlled parallel group trials comparing selenium supplementation in doses greater than daily requirement to placebo on the outcome of mortality in patients with sepsis syndrome.
Data Collection and Analysis: Two reviewers independently applied eligibility criteria, assessed quality, and extracted data. The primary outcome was mortality; secondary outcomes were ICU length of stay, nosocomial pneumonia, and adverse events. Trial authors were contacted for additional or clarifying information.
Results: Nine trials enrolling a total of 792 patients were included. Selenium supplementation in comparison to placebo was associated with lower mortality (odds ratio, 0.73; 95% CI, 0.54, 0.98; p = 0.03; I2 = 0%). Among patients receiving and not receiving selenium, there was no difference in ICU length of stay (mean difference, 2.03; 95% CI, –0.51, 4.56; p = 0.12; I2 = 0%) or nosocomial pneumonia (odds ratio, 0.83; 95% CI, 0.28, 2.49; p = 0.74; I2 = 56%). Significant heterogeneity among trials in adverse event reporting precluded pooling of results.
Conclusions: In patients with sepsis, selenium supplementation at doses higher than daily requirement may reduce mortality. We observed no impact of selenium on ICU length of stay or risk of nosocomial pneumonia.