Vitamin D deficiency shown to increase rejection rates in lung transplant patients

April 25, 2012 By Nora Plunkett and Anne Dillon

(Medical Xpress) -- Vitamin D deficiency is associated with an increase in lung transplant rejection and infections, according to research conducted at Loyola University Health System (LUHS). Researchers also found that recipients who remained deficient for one year following the transplant had a higher mortality rate than those who had normal vitamin D levels. These data were published in the latest issue of The Journal of Heart and Lung Transplantation.

who undergo lung transplants are at risk for rejecting the organ, and two-thirds of these patients are vitamin D deficient,” said Erin Lowery, MD, first author, assistant professor, Department of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine (SSOM). “Given the high prevalence of in patients and the growing evidence that this supplement helps the immune system tolerate the organ, optimal levels of vitamin D are critical for positive outcomes in these patients."

The study evaluated 102 patients who underwent a lung transplant and had vitamin D levels evaluated within 100 days prior to or following surgery. Twenty-one patients had normal vitamin D levels and 81 were deficient. The rejection rate in the deficient group was more than double that of the nondeficient group. Infections also were more frequent in the deficient group than in the nondeficient group (mean 4.01 versus 2.71). In addition, the mortality rate of vitamin D deficient patients one year after transplant was nearly five times higher than those who were not deficient.

Prior to lung transplant, 52 percent of patients received a vitamin D supplement. An additional evaluation was performed one year after transplant to determine if levels were normal or deficient. Seventy-five patients had normal vitamin D levels and 27 were deficient. In the year after the lung transplant, all patients received a vitamin D supplement.

The health benefits of vitamin D are widespread and range from warding off cancer, osteoporosis, heart disease, diabetes and depression. Until now, researchers could only speculate that vitamin D also improves the health of lung transplant patients.

“This was the first study to explore the impact of vitamin D deficiency in lung transplant patients,” said Pauline Camacho, MD, director of the Loyola University Osteoporosis and Metabolic Bone Disease Center, Loyola University Health System (LUHS). “We have determined that there are multiple benefits to maintaining normal vitamin D levels in lung ."

Explore further: Vitamin D deficiency high among trauma patients

Related Stories

Vitamin D deficiency high among trauma patients

February 7, 2012

New research presented at the 2012 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) found that 77 percent of trauma patients had deficient or insufficient levels of vitamin D.

Vitamin D deficiency common in cancer patients

October 3, 2011

More than three-quarters of cancer patients have insufficient levels of vitamin D (25-hydroxy-vitamin D) and the lowest levels are associated with more advanced cancer, according to a study presented on October 2, 2011, at ...

Recommended for you

International study proves old blood is as good as new

October 24, 2016

It's been long thought that when blood transfusions are needed, it may be best to use the freshest blood, but McMaster University researchers have led a large international study proving that it is not so.

Study finds mixed results for use of mesh for hernia repair

October 18, 2016

Among patients undergoing incisional hernia repair, the use of mesh to reinforce the repair was associated with a lower risk of hernia recurrence over 5 years compared with when mesh was not used, although with long-term ...

Traditional surgery style worthwhile, says piles trial

October 10, 2016

Results of a five year trial on haemorrhoids (commonly known as piles), jointly sponsored by NHS Highland and the University of Aberdeen, have this week been published in The Lancet, one of the world's oldest and best known ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.