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Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis. 2010 Nov;20(9):633-40. doi: 10.1016/j.numecd.2010.01.002. Epub 2010 Apr 15.

High prevalence of vitamin D deficiency and its association with left ventricular dilation: an echocardiography study in elderly patients with chronic heart failure.

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Department of Endocrinological and Medical Sciences, University of Genova, Genova, Italy.



Vitamin D deficiency has been associated with chronic heart failure (CHF). We evaluated vitamin D levels in relationship with New York Heart Association (NYHA) classes, N-terminal pro-brain natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP) values and left ventricular (LV) measures in ≥60 year old patients with stable CHF. Differently from previous investigations, LV function was assessed by transthoracic echocardiography, to provide easily reproducible results.


The study was performed at geographic latitude 44° N, from March to May and from September to November 2008. Acute HF and diseases or drugs altering vitamin D status were exclusion criteria. NYHA scores and 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D], 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D and NT-proBNP concentrations were assessed in 90 (45 F, 45 M) Caucasian patients with CHF secondary to hypertension and/or coronary artery disease. Vitamin D levels were also measured in 31 subjects without heart disease (controls). LV echocardiography was performed in 52 (26 F, 26 M) representative patients. Vitamin D concentrations were significantly lower in CHF cases than in controls. Among subject with CHF, 97.8% presented vitamin D deficiency (25(OH)D<75 nmol/L), being severe (<25 nmol/L) in 66.7%. LV end-diastolic and end-systolic diameters were significantly longer, LV end-diastolic and end-systolic volumes bigger and fractional shortening lower in CHF patients with 25(OH)D<25 nmol/L than with 25(OH)D≥25 nmol/L (p<0.05). Log-values of 25(OH)D were negatively correlated with LV end-systolic diameter and volume (r=-0.28; p<0.05). On subgroup analysis, these results persisted only in male patients.


In elderly CHF patients, vitamin D deficiency was highly prevalent and often severe. This first addressed echocardiography study showed a sex-specific association between vitamin D deficiency and LV dilation. Since further echocardiography data are easily obtainable, larger investigations are demanded.

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