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Low vitamin D levels linked to increased risks after noncardiac surgery
Date:8/15/2014

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Patients at the lowest level of 25-hydroxyvitamin D (less than 13 ng/mL) were at highest risk of death or serious complications. Those with higher vitamin D levels (up to 44 ng/mL) had about half the risk as those in the lowest group. The association with low vitamin D was statistically significant only for cardiovascular complications, although there were "strong trends" for mortality and infections.

Further Study Needed to Determine Cause and Effect

"Vitamin D deficiency is a global health problem," according to Dr Turan and coauthors. In addition to protective cardiovascular and neurological effects, vitamin D plays an important role in the immune system.

The high rates of vitamin D insufficiency and deficiency in the surgical patients studied are consistent with previous findings in the general population. In recent years, studies have suggested that vitamin D levels may affect a wide range of health outcomes.

Patients undergoing surgery are at risk of cardiovascular and infectious complications, both of which may be aggravated by vitamin D deficiency. Previous studies found no increased risk of adverse outcomes related to vitamin D levels in patients undergoing cardiac surgery. It may be that the tissue injury and inflammation associated with heart surgery overwhelms any potential protective effect of vitamin D.

However, Dr Turan and colleagues note that their study had some important limitations of their studyespecially the fact that it included only patients who had recent measurements of vitamin D levels. They may represent a less-healthy group, introducing a potential source of selection bias.

The study can't determine whether there is any cause-and-effect relationship between vitamin D levels and the risk of adverse outcomes. Dr Turan and colleagues suggest a formal randomized trial to evaluate whether preoperative vitamin D supplementation can reduce the risk of serious complicati
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Contact: Nancy Lynly
nlynly@iars.org
415-296-6907
Wolters Kluwer Health
Source:Eurekalert

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