High prevalence of vitamin D deficiency and osteoporosis in out-patients with intestinal failure

L Ellegård, G Kurlberg, I Bosaeus
Clinical Nutrition 2013, 32 (6): 983-7

BACKGROUND: In intestinal failure, specific nutrient deficiencies especially for fat-soluble vitamins can be expected in addition to energy-protein malnutrition. We report serum levels of fat soluble vitamins, and bone density in out-patients with intestinal failure (IF).

METHODS: 106 outpatients with IF were assessed during routine visits. 78 patients underwent DXA-scan for bone density. Vitamin D levels < 50 nmol/l were defined as deficiency, and 75-150 as optimal. Vitamin A and E deficiencies were defined as <1.0 and <14 μmol/l respectively. INR ≥ 1.2 without liver disease or anti-vitamin K therapy was classified as vitamin K deficiency.

RESULTS: Mean serum vitamin D level was 45 nmol/l at first visit, and 64 nmol/l at follow up (n = 76, p = 0.0001 by paired t-test). Overall prevalence of vitamin D deficiency was 67%. Only 12% of all patients had optimal D-vitamin status. 88% of assessed patients had low bone density. 12% had subnormal vitamin A levels and 25% had subnormal vitamin E levels. 32% had abnormal INR values. At follow up 34% remained vitamin D deficient whereas 29% had optimal levels. By oral substitution, vitamin A and E status were normalised, and K status improved.

CONCLUSION: Vitamin D deficiency and osteoporosis are common in outpatients with intestinal failure, and should be adequately substituted.

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