Monday, July 9, 2012

Vitamin D and Hospital Acquired Infections

I read an intriguing paper (full text online) on the vitamin D and its potential role in preventing hospital acquired infections.

The authors believe that vitamin D supplementation in vitamin D deficient, hospitalized patients could improve health outcomes. Vitamin D is inexpensive and supplementation is generally safe. They cite numerous publications on the immunomodulatory effects of vitamin D and its potential impact on both bacterial and viral infections. The paper references various associations (not causation) between low vitamin D levels and healthcare associated infections including pneumonia,Clostridium difficile and surgical site infections. 

Compelling, however, before we launch into mass vitamin D screening and supplementation of hospitalized patients, further data is needed to define target vitamin D levels for maximal immunologic benefit and optimal repletion strategies. Last, prospective clinical studies are needed to definitively confirm the infection prevention benefit of vitamin D. Until then, vitamin D supplementation to reduce the risk of hospital-acquired infections will likely not be the standard of care.  

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