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Am J Med. 2016 Jan;129(1):116.e1-116.e34. doi: 10.1016/j.amjmed.2015.06.034. Epub 2015 Jul 11.

Screening and Treatment of Vitamin D Deficiency on Hospital Admission: Is There a Benefit for Medical Inpatients?

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Medical University Department, University of Basel, Kantonsspital Aarau, Aarau, Switzerland.
University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland.
Medical University Department, University of Basel, Kantonsspital Aarau, Aarau, Switzerland. Electronic address:



Whether screening and treatment of vitamin D deficiency improves clinical outcomes in medical inpatients remains unclear. We performed a systematic search and summarized the evidence from observational and randomized, controlled studies (RCTs) on the influence of vitamin D deficiency and its treatment on patient outcomes.


The MEDLINE and EMBASE databases were searched in January 2015 using the terms "vitamin D deficiency," "vitamin D," "mortality," "inpatient," "length of stay," "hospitalization," "accidental falls," "quality of life," "activities of daily living," and "intensive care units."


Of 239 potential studies, 29 observational studies and 5 RCTs were included. Observational studies revealed an association between vitamin D deficiency and adverse patient outcomes, such as mortality, higher incidence and severity of infections, and increased duration of hospital stay, in the inpatient and geriatric patient population. The RCT data, however, are inconclusive regarding beneficial effects of vitamin D supplementation for reduction of mortality and length of hospital stay, as well as fall prevention.


Despite evidence of associations in observational studies, high-quality evidence from interventional trials on the benefits of vitamin D supplementation in inpatients is currently lacking. On the basis of the available evidence, general vitamin D screening and supplementation for the medical inpatient population in an acute care setting cannot be recommended.


Clinical outcomes; Medical inpatients; Vitamin D deficiency

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