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Ann Trop Paediatr. 2007 Mar;27(1):63-7.

Vitamin D deficiency and rickets in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia.

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Department of Pharmacology, College of Medicine, King Faisal University, Dammam, Saudi Arabia.



Nutritional rickets remains prevalent in many developing countries, despite the availability of ample sunlight. The aim of this study was to investigate the clinical features and chemical pathology in a group of children with rickets and to compare them with a control group.


In a case-control study over a 1-year period (March 2004 to February 2005), children clinically diagnosed with rickets (n=61) were age- and sex-matched with controls (n=58). In addition to routine chemical pathology, 25 (OH) vitamin D3 and parathormone (PTH) were determined. Controls were children without clinical rickets attending hospital for other blood investigations.


The mean age of children with rickets was 14.8 mths and of controls was 16.5 mths. Mean (SD) body mass index of the children with rickets [16.8 (1.86)] was not significantly different from that of the controls [17.02 (3.16)]. Mean (SD) head circumference of rachitic children [45.41 (3.64) cm] was greater than that of controls [44.39 (5.07) cm, p=0.03]. Eighty per cent of the children with rickets were breastfed compared with 67% of controls. Thirty per cent of children with rickets were hypocalcaemic vs <7% of controls, 89% had phosphorus values <1.5 mmol/L vs 34.5% of controls and 75% had alkaline phosphatise levels >500 IU/L vs 28% of controls. Seventy-five per cent of children with rickets had serum 25 (OH) D3 <20 nmol/L vs 25% of controls. Mean (SD) PTH level was 23.59 (19.03) pmol/L in the rachitic group and 1.9 (1.05) pmol/L in controls (p<0.05). Lack of exposure to sunlight was recorded in 90% of the children with rickets and in 37% of the controls.


Apparently healthy children living in areas where rickets is prevalent have risk factors for rickets and a small proportion will have evidence of biochemical rickets.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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