Critically Ill Patients May Often Be Vitamin D Deficient

Hypovitaminosis D may worsen dysfunctions, contribute to poor outcomes
By Jane Parry
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, April 29 (HealthDay News) -- High percentages of critically ill patients in intensive care may be vitamin D deficient, potentially worsening outcomes, according to an article published in the April 30 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Paul Lee, of the Garvan Institute of Medical Research in Sydney, Australia, and colleagues conducted a study of 20 male and 22 female critically ill patients who were referred for endocrinologic evaluation. Thirteen of the patients had sepsis, 15 had respiratory disease, five had trauma and three each had cardiac, neurologic or metabolic disease.

In all, 23 (55 percent) of the patients were found to have insufficient levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D (between 30 and 60 nmol/L), 16 (38 percent) had deficient levels (between 15 and 30 nmol/L), and 7 (17 percent) had undetectable levels (15 nmol/L or less), the investigators found. Only three (7 percent) had sufficient levels of 25-hyrdroxyvitamin D (over 60 nmol/L), the researchers report.

"This study cannot establish causality between hypovitaminosis D and adverse outcomes," the authors write. However, "vitamin D-deficient and vitamin D-insufficient states may worsen existing immune and metabolic dysfunctions in critically ill patients, leading to worse outcomes."

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