Low Vitamin D Extends Ventilation Duration in Critical Patients

January 9, 2015
Eileen Oldfield Associate Editor

Low vitamin D levels may prolong the duration of mechanical ventilation in critically ill surgical patients.

Low vitamin D levels may prolong the duration of mechanical ventilation in critically ill surgical patients, the results of a new cohort study suggest.

Researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School found plasma 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25OHD) levels on admission to the surgical ICU were inversely associated with the need for mechanical ventilation. In the 94-participant study cohort, investigators observed an incident rate ratio of 0.66 per 10 ng/mL of 25OHD.

The findings, which were published online on January 6, 2015, in the Journal of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition, appeared to support the authors’ initial hypothesis concerning a link between factors influencing respiratory support duration and low vitamin D levels. Despite this, the researchers said their findings must be interpreted cautiously due to the study’s observational nature and its limitations.

As a result, the authors recommended further research into the potential benefits of aggressive vitamin D supplementation in critical illness, as well as to identify how vitamin D relates to respiratory support in surgical intensive care patients.