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Sufficient vitamin D helps ICU patient outcomes

Saturday April 14, 2012
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Vitamin D may affect the outcomes of patients in intensive care, according to a study by Israeli researchers.

The researchers conducted a six-month study and found that patients in the ICU with a vitamin D deficiency lived an average of 8.9 days fewer than those who were found to have sufficient vitamin D. Levels of vitamin D also correlated with levels of disease-fighting white blood cells.

To measure the impact of vitamin D levels on the survival of critically ill patients, researchers with Tel Aviv Universityís Sackler Faculty of Medicine and Sheba Medical Center observed 130 patients older than 18 who were admitted to an ICU of a TAU-affiliated hospital and required mechanical ventilation. They excluded patients who had taken vitamin D supplements prior to admission.

The researchers divided patients into those who had serum levels of 20 nanograms or more of vitamin D and those who had less. In all, 107 patients suffered from vitamin D deficiency based on that criteria.

Survival curves indicated that while patients with sufficient vitamin D survived an average of 24.2 days, those deemed to be vitamin D deficient survived an average of only 15.3 days. Patients with sufficient vitamin D also were found to have a better white blood cell count.

Lead investigator Howard Amital, MD, MHA, said the effects of vitamin D supplementation in critically ill patients should be further assessed in future studies. The initial results suggest only that vitamin D concentration may be an indicator of survival rather than a causal factor, he said.

The study appeared on the website of QJM: An International Journal of Medicine. To read the data and access the study via subscription or purchase, visit http://bit.ly/HcFZiV.


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