“Our study provides further evidence of a relationship between sufficient vitamin D levels and an improved immune system,” said lead researcher and study author Kenneth B. Christopher, MD, a Critical Care Nephrologist at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, Mass. “And that a deficiency in vitamin D levels probably increases a patient’s susceptibility to dangerous hospital-acquired infections.”
Christopher and his colleagues, conducting a retrospective cohort study focused on 568 adult patients from two Boston teaching hospitals, found that patients that were tested and identified as having below normal vitamin D levels in their system prior to hospital admission were at a significantly increased risk of developing HACDIs.
“The fact that treatment of vitamin D deficiency is relatively inexpensive and that it could dramatically reduce risk of HACDI – and very likely many other HAIs – is very exciting,” said Peggi Guenter, PhD, RN, Senior Director of Clinical Practice, Advocacy, and Research Affairs for ASPEN. “This study certainly supports having more research conducted on the potential immune boosting benefits of vitamin D as well as supports the need to see better clinical nutrition testing and treatment of hospital patients overall.”
Every day, about 1 in every 20 hospitalized patients has an infection caused by receiving medical care according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is also estimated that the overall annual direct medical costs of hospital-acquired infections to U.S. hospitals is upwards of $45 billion.
While most types of hospital-acquired infections are declining, Clostridium difficile remains at historically high levels. Clostridium difficile causes diarrhea linked to 14,000 American deaths each year.
Co-authors are Sadeq A. Quraishi, MD, MMSc; Augusto A. Litonjua, MD, MPH; Takuhiro Moromizato, MD; Fiona Gibbons, MD; Carlos A. Camargo, Jr, MD, DrPH; and Edward Giovannucci, MD, ScD.
Abstracts for all of the research presented at the Clinical Nutrition Week 2014 conference are available at tinyurl.com/