The September 1, 2012 issue of the journal Pediatrics contained a report by Canadian researchers which reveals a greater prevalence of deficient vitamin D levels in children hospitalized with critical illnesses.
J. Dayre McNally, MD, PhD of Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute and colleagues examined serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels in 326 critically ill children between the ages of six months and thirteen years who were admitted to the intensive care units of six Canadian hospitals.
Sixty-nine percent of the group had deficient 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels of lower than 50 nanomoles per liter (nmol/L), and insufficient levels between 50 and 75 nmol/L were uncovered in 23 percent. Vitamin D deficiency was associated with longer intensive care unit (ICU) stays and increased Pediatric Risk of Mortality scores, which are used to evaluate illness severity. While five deaths occurred among the deficient group during their ICU admissions, no deaths occurred in those who were not deficient in vitamin D.
“This is the first study to report on vitamin D levels in a large group of critically ill children, and provides evidence that vitamin D deficiency is both common among critically ill children and associated with greater severity of critical illness,” the authors conclude. “Further research will determine whether targeted vitamin D supplementation or rapid restoration will improve outcome.”