Research shows Vitamin D levels drop after pediatric heart surgery, increasing sickness

Until now, there has been no research dedicated to the importance of Vitamin D supplementation in children with congenital heart disease (CHD). However, over the past few years, researchers at the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) Research Institute and Cardiovascular Surgery Program teamed with the Canadian Critical Care Trials Group to understand the impact of cardiac surgery on the Vitamin D status of infants and children, to be printed next month in Anesthesiology.

"The importance of Vitamin D levels and supplementation in healthy infants and children is well established," said Dr. Dayre McNally, a clinical researcher and intensivist at CHEO and assistant professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Ottawa. "Now we have more compelling evidence that children with require even higher levels of Vitamin D intake in the months preceding surgery."

This evidence comes from a study that looked at 58 children who had cardiac surgery at CHEO. Blood was collected at the time of admission to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit immediately following surgery, and revealed that almost all of the children had low Vitamin D levels. With additional tests, the researchers were able to determine why. "Our results show that almost all children are Vitamin D deficient post-operatively as a result of borderline acceptable levels prior to surgery, combined with a 40% decline during the operation."

The role of Vitamin D in the growth and maintenance of bone health is well known to the public. However, recent studies have also suggested Vitamin D to be important for the proper functioning of other organs including the heart, lungs and immune systems. This study by Dr. McNally confirms this, as patients with lower post-operative Vitamin D levels were more prone to requiring more life-sustaining therapies (medications to support , longer duration of assisted breathing) and stayed in the Intensive Care Unit for longer periods of time.

Although Dr. McNally and his co-investigators are concerned with the high rates of post-operative vitamin D deficiency they also view the finding as positive. "The children and families who generously participated in this research have provided us with important information that may help the next generation of children maintain better health and recover quicker following ," explained Dr. McNally. The CHEO Research Institute and Canadian Critical Care Trials Group have wasted little time and have already designed a novel study with the goal of identifying a new approach to Vitamin D supplementation in children with CHD.

Journal reference: Anesthesiology search and more info website

Provided by Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute

not rated yet
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Vitamin C is beneficial against the common cold

Feb 13, 2013

(Medical Xpress)—According to an updated Cochrane review on vitamin C and the common cold, vitamin C seems to be particularly beneficial for people under heavy physical stress.

Preterm infants may need 800 IU of vitamin D3 per day

May 05, 2013

Preterm infants may need to be given 800 international units (IU) of vitamin D a day to ensure they develop strong bones, according to a study to be presented Sunday, May 5, at the Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS) annual ...

Recommended for you

Females ignored in basic medical research

7 hours ago

A new study from Northwestern Medicine has found that surgical researchers rarely use female animals or female cells in their published studies—despite a huge body of evidence showing that sex differences can play a crucial ...

Technology to eliminate fungus from surgical materials

10 hours ago

Specialists in Mexico have developed a system that combines antifungal properties of different materials. This scientific product destroys microorganisms that proliferate in the living systems and confers ...

User comments