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Am J Clin Nutr. 2013 Oct;98(4):952-9. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.113.058909. Epub 2013 Aug 14.

Association between prehospital vitamin D status and hospital-acquired bloodstream infections.

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  • 1Departments of Anesthesia, Critical Care and Pain Medicine and The Nathan E Hellman Memorial Laboratory, Renal Division, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA.



Alterations in immune function can predispose patients to nosocomial infections. Few studies have explored potentially modifiable host factors that may improve immune function and decrease risk of hospital-acquired bloodstream infection (HABSI). Vitamin D is a key regulator of innate and adaptive immune systems that may influence host susceptibility to infections.


We investigated the association between prehospital serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] concentrations and risk of HABSI.


We performed a retrospective cohort study of 2135 adult patients from 2 Boston teaching hospitals. All patients had 25(OH)D concentrations measured before hospitalization between 1993 and 2010. The main outcome measure was HABSI, which was defined as positive blood cultures from samples drawn 48 h after hospital admission. Coagulase-negative Staphylococcus isolates were not considered to be bloodstream infections. Associations between 25(OH)D groups and HABSI were estimated by using bivariable and multivariable logistic regression models. Adjusted ORs were estimated with the inclusion of covariate terms thought to plausibly interact with both 25(OH)D concentration and HABSI.


Compared with patients with 25(OH)D concentrations ≥30 ng/mL, patients with concentrations <30 ng/mL had higher odds of HABSI. For 25(OH)D concentrations <10 ng/mL, the OR was 2.33 (95% CI: 1.45, 3.74); for 25(OH)D concentrations from 10 to 19.9 ng/mL, the OR was 1.60 (95% CI: 1.04, 2.46); and for 25(OH)D concentrations from 20 to 29.9 ng/mL, the OR was 1.13 (95% CI: 0.69, 1.84). After adjustment for age, sex, race (nonwhite compared with white), patient type (medical compared with surgical), and Deyo-Charlson index, the ORs of HABSI were 1.95 (95% CI: 1.22, 3.12), 1.36 (95% CI: 0.89, 2.07), and 0.98 (95% CI: 0.60, 1.62), respectively.


The analysis of 2135 adult patients showed that 25(OH)D concentrations <10 ng/mL before hospitalization were associated with significantly increased odds of developing HABSI. These data support the initiation of randomized trials to test the role of vitamin D supplementation in HABSI prevention.

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