Fat-soluble vitamin nutriture in primary biliary cirrhosis

M M Kaplan, G H Elta, B Furie, J A Sadowski, R M Russell
Gastroenterology 1988, 95 (3): 787-92
We measured serum levels of vitamins A, E, 25-hydroxyvitamin D, and 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D, as well as levels of abnormal (des-gamma-carboxy) prothrombin, in 52 patients with primary biliary cirrhosis. Decreased serum levels of retinol (vitamin A) and 25-hydroxyvitamin D and elevated levels of abnormal prothrombin were common in these patients and correlated with the histologic stage of the disease and with the clinical severity of disease as judged by elevated serum bilirubin levels and decreased serum albumin levels. The increased levels of abnormal prothrombin were due primarily to vitamin K deficiency but also, in part, to the severity of the liver disease itself. Vitamin E deficiency was rare. Only 1 patient had clinical manifestations of fat-soluble vitamin deficiency, night blindness, and gastrointestinal bleeding related to a marked prolongation of the prothrombin time. Deficiencies of fat-soluble vitamins are most likely to be present in jaundiced patients with long-standing, severe cholestasis. We suggest that fat-soluble vitamin status be determined in all patients with primary biliary cirrhosis by appropriate blood tests and that vitamin supplements be given only to those patients who require them.

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