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Nutrition and Metabolic Insights

Vitamin D Deficiency in Medical Inpatients: A Retrospective Study of Implications of Untreated Versus Treated Deficiency

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Nutrition and Metabolic Insights 2016:9 65-69

Original Research

Published on 21 Sep 2016

DOI: 10.4137/NMI.S33747


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Abstract

Vitamin D deficiency and insufficiency may further increase fracture risk in patients with decreased bone mineral density. A cross-sectional study on serum vitamin D concentrations in medical inpatients was conducted at Bassetlaw District General Hospital between April 2014 and January 2015 (10 months), and the relationship of serum vitamin D concentrations with calcium and alkaline phosphatase was evaluated. 25-Hydroxyvitamin D immunoassays were used and analyzed in the local laboratory. The total number of patients analyzed was 200, age range 18–99 years, with mean age of 76 years. The most common presentation was found to be fall/collapse. The following cutoff points for serum vitamin D were used: levels ≤30 nmol/L for severe deficiency, >30–50 nmol/L for moderate deficiency, >50–75 nmol/L for mild deficiency, and anything above 75 nmol/L as normal. Of the 209 participants examined, 78 (37.3%) participants had mild vitamin D deficiency, 54 (25.8%) participants had moderate vitamin D deficiency, 68 (32.5%) participants had severe vitamin D deficiency, and 9 (4.3%) participants with low vitamin D levels died during their admission. Of the 122 moderate/severe patients, 70 (57.4%) patients had their vitamin D deficiency treated, according to local Trust guidelines. The study found no relationship between serum calcium levels and vitamin D deficiency, whereas patients’ alkaline phosphatase levels were found to be higher with increased severity of vitamin D deficiency. The study examined the implications of untreated severe/moderate vitamin D deficiency compared to treated deficiency, in terms of the frequency of readmission with similar complaints. It was found that the rate of readmission within one year in patients who were not treated was 57%, compared to 48% in patients whose vitamin D deficiency was treated. Presenting after falls was a recurring theme. It was concluded that even if moderate vitamin D deficiency can be asymptomatic, it is important to correct it as it can have an impact on morbidity and readmission rates in the long term.



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