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High Dose of Vitamin D among ICU Patients With the Deficiency Does Not Enhance Outcome

First Posted: Sep 30, 2014 06:49 AM EDT

High doses of vitamin D do not shorten hospital stay or mortality among ICU patients who are vitamin D deficient, a new study says.

Vitamin D deficiency mainly occurs due to inadequate exposure to sunlight. Without treatment, this deficiency can pose serious health effects. Currently, this health condition is recognized as a pandemic. It is estimated that three-quarter of the U.S. teens and adults are deficient in vitamin D which is also called as the sunshine vitamin.

latest study from the Medical University of Graz, Austria, found that administration of high-dose vitamin D3 did not significantly lower hospital stay, intensive care unit duration, hospital mortality, or the risk of death at 6 months among those with insufficient levels of vitamin D who were critically ill.

The rise in the prevalence of low vitamin D levels has been confirmed in most critically ill patients. Most of the studies that looked at the low levels of vitamin D claim that this condition is a key factor that is linked with severity of disease, mortality or reduced survival time in ICU. However, not much is known on whether low level of vitamin D is an independent contributor to the risk of the illness or death of the victims.

In this study, led by Karin Amrein, the researchers looked at 492 adult ICU patients who had low levels of vitamin D and were given either a high dose of vitamin D3 or a placebo. In the primary study outcome, the length of hospital stay in the vitamin D3 group was no different from that of the placebo group. Also there was no difference in the length of ICU stay.

Among those receiving vitamin D3, 28.3 percent  died in the hospital compared to 35.3 percent in  the placebo group. After 6 months, 35.0 percent of the patients died in the vitamin D3 group and among the placebo group it was 42.9 percent. In the subgroup of patients with severe deficiency of vitamin D, the hospital mortality rate was lower.

"Among patients with vitamin D deficiency who are critically ill, administration of high-dose vitamin D3 compared with placebo did not improve hospital length of stay, hospital mortality, or 6-month mortality,' said Amrein.

The researchers say further investigation is required in the matter.

The finding was published in JAMA and was presented at the European Society of Intensive Care Medicine annual congress.

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