The prevalence of vitamin D deficiency and its relationship with disease severity in an urban pediatric critical care unit

M. Ayulo, Chhavi Katyal, Ch Agarwal, T. Sweberg, D. Rastogi, M. Markowitz, H. M. Ushay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Objective. To evaluate the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency among patients admitted to a Pediatric Critical Care Unit (PCCU) in an urban children’s hospital, and to assess if there is a correlation between vitamin D level and disease severity. Patients and Methods. Patients (216) between the ages of 1-21 years admitted to the PCCU in a children’s hospital, excluding those readmitted with a previous vitamin D level, were enrolled. Serum 25-OH vitamin D levels were measured in all patients within 24 h of admission to the PCCU. The severity of patient illness was assessed by the Pediatric Logistic Organ Dysfunction (PELOD) score determined on admission. Results. Vitamin D deficiency was found in 28% of patients and vitamin D insufficiency was found in 47% of patients. Adolescent age group, female gender, Black race, winter season, and increasing BMI were determined to be risk factors associated with vitamin D deficiency. No significant correlation was found between vitamin D level and PELOD score (p=0.09). There were six deaths (3%), 5 (83%) of which occurred in patients with low vitamin D levels. Total serum calcium levels correlated with vitamin D (p=0.005) and PELOD score (p=0.001). However, ionized calcium levels did not significantly correlate with vitamin D (p=0.62) or PELOD score (p=0.26). Conclusions. Vitamin D deficiency is common in children admitted to an urban inner city PCCU, with 75% of patients having abnormal levels. We did not find a significant correlation between disease severity as measured by PELOD score and vitamin D level in a heterogeneous group of critically ill children. Total serum calcium levels significantly correlated with vitamin D and disease severity in this population. There appears to be an association between vitamin D deficiency and mortality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)69-76
Number of pages8
JournalEndocrine Regulations
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014


  • Children
  • Critically ill
  • Disease severity
  • Hypocalcemia
  • ICU
  • Mortality
  • Pediatrics
  • Prevalence
  • Vitamin D

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology


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