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J Vasc Surg. 2014 Jul;60(1):176-83. doi: 10.1016/j.jvs.2014.01.037. Epub 2014 Feb 28.

Vitamin D deficiency is associated with mortality and adverse vascular access outcomes in patients with end-stage renal disease.

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Department of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, Calif. Electronic address:
Department of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, Calif.
Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio.
Department of Vascular Surgery, San Francisco Veteran's Administration Medical Center, San Francisco, Calif.



Plasma 25 hydroxycholecalciferol (vitamin D) deficiency has been associated with adverse cardiovascular outcomes in epidemiologic studies. Chronic kidney disease is associated with loss of 1α-hydroxylase and consequently vitamin D deficiency. We hypothesized that vitamin D deficiency was associated with increased mortality and increased vascular access failure in patients undergoing permanent vascular access for end-stage renal disease.


This retrospective cohort study analyzed 128 patients undergoing permanent vascular access surgery between 2003 and 2012 for whom concurrent plasma vitamin D levels were also available. Levels were considered deficient at <20 ng/mL. Multivariable analysis was used to determine the association between vitamin D and mortality and vascular access outcomes.


The mean age was 66.7 years, 96.8% were male, 32.0% were African American, and 60.9% had diabetes mellitus. In the entire cohort, 55.5% were vitamin D-deficient, despite similar rates of repletion among the vitamin D-deficient and nondeficient groups. During a median follow-up of 2.73 years, there were 40 deaths (31%). Vitamin D-deficient patients tended to be younger (P = .01) and to have higher total cholesterol (P = .001) and lower albumin (P = .017) and calcium (P = .007) levels. Despite their younger age, mortality was significantly higher (P = .026) and vascular access failure was increased (P = .008) in the vitamin D-deficient group. Multivariate logistic regression analysis found vitamin D deficiency (odds ratio [OR], 3.64; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.12-11.79; P = .031), hemodialysis through a central catheter (OR, 3.08; 95% CI, 1.04-9.12; P = .042), coronary artery disease (OR, 3.08; 95% CI, 1.06-8.94; P = .039), increased age (OR, 1.09; 95% CI, 1.03-1.15; P = .001), and albumin (OR, 0.27; 95% CI, 0.09-0.83; P = .023) remained independent predictors of mortality. Vitamin D deficiency (hazard ratio [HR], 2.34; 95% CI, 1.17-4.71; P = .02), a synthetic graft (HR, 3.50; 95% CI, 1.38-8.89; P = .009), and hyperlipidemia (HR, 0.42; 95% CI, 0.22-0.81; P = .01) were independent predictors of vascular access failure in a Cox proportional hazard model.


Vitamin D deficiency is highly prevalent in patients undergoing vascular access procedures. Patients who are deficient in vitamin D have worse survival and worse vascular access outcomes. Further study is warranted to assess whether aggressive vitamin D repletion will improve outcomes in this population.

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