Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date

2013

Abstract

Background: Testing for 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] has increased dramatically in recent years. The present report compares overall utilization and results for 25(OH)D orders at two academic medical centers - one in New York and one in Iowa – in order to characterize the vitamin D status of our inpatient and outpatient populations. Results are also compared to those from a national reference laboratory to determine whether patterns at these two institutions reflect those observed nationally.

Methods: Retrospective data queries of 25(OH)D orders and results were conducted using the laboratory information systems at Weill Cornell Medical College / New York Presbyterian Hospital (WCMC), University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics (UIHC), and ARUP Laboratories (ARUP). Chart review was conducted for cases with very high or low serum 25(OH)D levels in the WCMC and UIHC datasets.

Results: The majority of tests were ordered on females and outpatients. Average serum 25(OH)D levels were higher in female versus male patients across most ages in the WCMC, UIHC, and ARUP datasets. As expected, average serum 25(OH)D levels were higher in outpatients than inpatients. Serum 25(OH)D levels showed seasonal periodicity, with average levels higher in summer than winter and correlating to regional UV index. Area plots demonstrated a peak of increased 25(OH)D insufficiency / deficiency in adolescent females, although overall worse 25(OH)D status was found in male versus female patients in the WCMC, UIHC, and ARUP datasets. Surprisingly, improved 25(OH)D status was observed in patients starting near age 50. Finally, chart review of WCMC and UIHC datasets revealed over-supplementation (especially of ≥ 50,000 IU weekly doses) in the rare cases of very high 25 (OH)D levels. General nutritional deficiency and/or severe illness was found in most cases of severe 25(OH)D deficiency.

Conclusions: 25(OH)D status of patients seen by healthcare providers varies according to age, gender, season, and patient location. Improved 25(OH)D status was observed later in life, a finding that may reflect the previously described increased use of vitamin D-containing supplements in such populations. Severe vitamin D deficiency is much more common than vitamin D toxicity.

Comments

PMCID: PMC4175113

DOI

10.1186/1472-6823-13-52