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Q J Med. 1984 Winter;53(209):119-34.

A survey of vitamin D deficiency in gastrointestinal and liver disorders.


A survey of vitamin D status in 152 patients with chronic gastrointestinal conditions and 104 patients with chronic liver diseases is presented. Mild deficiency was common and severe deficiency, as judged by plasma 25-OHD levels less than 8 nmol/l, was encountered in every disease category tested. In the gastrointestinal disease patients, deficiency was significantly more common in patients following gastroenterostomy than other gastric surgery, in patients with active Crohn's disease than in those with inactive disease and in patients with chronic pancreatitis or pancreatic carcinoma with cholestatic features than in those without cholestatic features. Deficiency was as common in patients with Crohn's disease who had not been treated surgically as in those who had. There was no significant correlation between plasma 25-OHD levels and any laboratory index of malabsorption or malnutrition except for serum albumin in the gastric surgery patients, haemoglobin and ESR in the Crohn's disease patients and albumin and vitamin E in the group of patients with gastrointestinal disorders taken as a whole. In the chronic liver disease patients, those with late primary biliary cirrhosis had lower plasma 25-OHD levels than those with histological Stage I and II disease who all had normal levels, and those with pruritus and jaundice were more commonly severely deficient. Whatever the underlying disease process, patients with other coincidental medical conditions were much more likely to be deficient as were patients with cholestasis. Evidence of secondary hyperparathyroidism and osteomalacia on bone histology indicated the clinical relevance of the vitamin D deficiency. This study showed no relationship between abnormal plasma vitamin D binding protein levels and vitamin deficiency.

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