43% of Orthopedic Patients Have Low Vitamin D Level

Men, patients with darker skin, those on trauma service at highest risk
By Lindsey Marcellin
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Oct. 11 (HealthDay News) -- There is a high prevalence of hypovitaminosis D within the adult orthopedic surgery population, according to research published in the Oct. 6 issue of The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery.

Ljiljana Bogunovic, M.D., of the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York, and colleagues conducted a retrospective chart review of 723 patients scheduled for orthopedic surgery in 2007 and 2008. The objective was to assess the extent of low serum levels of vitamin D. Serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25[OH]D) levels were measured preoperatively and categorized as normal (≤32 ng/mL), insufficient (<32 ng/mL), or deficient (<20 ng/mL).

The highest rates of vitamin D inadequacy (those insufficient plus those deficient) were measured in patients on the trauma service (66 percent) and the sports injury service (52 percent); those on the metabolic bone disease service had the lowest rates of vitamin D inadequacy (23 percent) and there was an overall rate of 43 percent. Age was also associated with risk for low vitamin D levels, with patients ages 51-70 significantly less likely to be deficient than those ages 18-50. Men and patients with darker skin tones were significantly more likely than women and patients with lighter skin to be deficient.

"The purpose of the present study was to raise awareness among orthopaedic surgeons about hypovitaminosis D by presenting compelling but raw data that would spur future in-depth investigations as well as early detection and treatment," write the authors.

One or more of the authors disclosed financial relationships with the pharmaceutical industry.

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