Early high-dose vitamin D3 did not reduce mortality in critically ill, vitamin D–deficient patients


Background: Critically ill patients are often vitamin D deficient, but no large randomized trials have investigated whether early vitamin D supplementation can affect clinical outcomes.

Study design: Multicenter, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled phase 3 trial.Setting: 44 U.S. hospitals, during April 2017–July 2018.

Synopsis: The study enrolled 1,078 patients with 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels < 20 ng/mL who were critically ill (defined as patients being admitted to the ICU with one or more risk factor for lung injury or death). Participants were randomized to early administration of a single dose of 540,000 IUs of enteral vitamin D3 or placebo. The authors did not identify a statistically significant difference in the 90-day all-cause mortality between the two groups. Additionally, there were no significant differences in length of stay, ventilator-free days or serious adverse outcomes between the two groups.

Bottom line: Early administration of high-dose enteral vitamin D3 did not decrease 90-day all-cause mortality in critically ill, vitamin D–deficient patients.

Citation: Ginde A et al. Early high-dose vitamin D3 for critically ill, vitamin D–deficient patients. N Engl J Med. 2019 Dec 26; 281:2529-40.

Dr. Persaud is a hospitalist, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, and instructor in medicine, Harvard Medical School, both in Boston.

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