Vitamin D status 10 years after primary gastric bypass: gravely high prevalence of hypovitaminosis D and raised PTH levels

Christos Karefylakis, Ingmar Näslund, David Edholm, Magnus Sundbom, F Anders Karlsson, Eva Rask
Obesity Surgery 2014, 24 (3): 343-8

BACKGROUND: The primary aim of this study was to evaluate the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency and secondary hyperparathyroidism after Roux-en-Y gastric bypass. Secondly, we have tried to assess predictors for vitamin D deficiency.

METHODS: Five hundred thirty-seven patients who underwent primary Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery between 1993 and 2003 at the Örebro University Hospital and Uppsala University Hospital were eligible for the study. Patients were asked to provide a blood sample between November 2009 and June 2010 and to complete a questionnaire about their postoperative health status. Serum values of 25-OH vitamin D, parathyroid hormone (PTH), alkaline phosphatase (ALP) and calcium were determined.

RESULTS: Follow-up was completed in 293 patients, of which 83 % were female, with an age of 49 ± 9.9 years after a median time of 11 ± 2.8 years. Vitamin D, PTH and albumin-corrected calcium values were 42 ± 20.4 nmol/L, 89.1 ± 52.7 ng/L and 2.3 ± 0.1 mmol/L, respectively. Of all patients, 65 % were vitamin D deficient, i.e. 25-OH vitamin D <50 nmol/L, and 69 % had PTH above the upper normal reference range, i.e. >73 ng/L. Vitamin D was inversely correlated with PTH levels (p < 0.001) and positively correlated with calcium (p = 0.016). Vitamin D did not correlate with ALP. The only factor found to predict vitamin D deficiency was high preoperative body mass index (BMI) (p = 0.008), whereas gender, age, time after surgery and BMI at follow-up did not.

CONCLUSIONS: Vitamin D deficiency and secondary hyperparathyroidism after Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGB) were confirmed in our study because 65 % of patients had vitamin D deficiency, and 69 % had increased PTH levels more than 10 years after surgery. These data are alarming and highlight the need for improved long-term follow-up. Vitamin D deficiency does not seem to progress with time after surgery, possibly due to weight loss. Only preoperative BMI, cutoff point 43 kg/m(2), was a predictor of vitamin D deficiency at follow-up. Improved long-term follow-up of patients that undergo RYGB is needed.

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