SAN DIEGO (EGMN) - Nearly all veterans admitted to a surgical intensive care unit were vitamin D deficient, yet they were only mildly hypocalcemic, results from a single-center study showed.
"Research is still needed to determine if vitamin D deficiency contributes to complications in the ICU setting and if acute supplementation improves morbidity," researchers led by Mark Wong, Pharm.D., of the South Texas Veterans Health System, San Antonio, wrote in an abstract presented during a poster session at the annual congress of the Society of Critical Care Medicine. "Preemptive screening may become the standard of practice as more research becomes available."
To test the hypothesis that the frequency of vitamin D deficiency based on 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels was high in patients admitted to the surgical ICU, he and his associates evaluated 100 patients aged 18 years and older who were admitted to the surgical ICU between January of 2010 and August of 2010 and remained there for at least 2 days. Patients who were transferred out of the surgical ICU before labs were drawn were excluded from the analysis.
The researchers recorded 25(OH)D levels, calcium levels, as well as basic demographic information. The hospital's reference ranges for 25(OH)D and calcium are greater than 32 ng/mL and 8.6-10 mg/dL, respectively. Vitamin D supplementation was begun based on the patient's 25(OH)D level.
The mean age of patients was 66 years, 97% were male, and 50% had undergone cardiothoracic surgery. Other types of surgery were general (23%), neurology/ENT (14%), urology (7%), and orthopedic (6%).
Dr. Wong reported that 97% of patients met the criteria for vitamin D deficiency. Levels of 25(OH)D ranged from 5-46.4 ng/mL, for a mean of 17.5 ng/mL. The mean calcium level was 8.2 ng/mL.
No associations were seen between age, 25(OH)D, and calcium levels.
Dr. Wong said that he had no relevant financial conflicts of interest.
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