BACKGROUND: Vitamin D deficiency is a global health problem. Epidemiological studies demonstrate that vitamin D is both cardioprotective and neuroprotective. Vitamin D also plays a substantial role in innate and acquired immunity. Our goal was to evaluate the association of serum vitamin D concentration on serious postoperative complications and death in noncardiac surgical patients.
METHODS: We retrospectively analyzed the data of 3509 patients who had noncardiac surgery at the Cleveland Clinic Main Campus and had a serum vitamin D measurement. The relationship between serum vitamin D concentration and all-cause in-hospital mortality, in-hospital cardiovascular morbidity, and serious in-hospital infections was assessed as a common effect odds ratio (OR) by using a multivariate generalized estimating equation model with adjustment for demographic, medical history variables, and type and duration of surgery.
RESULTS: Higher vitamin D concentrations were associated with decreased odds of in-hospital mortality/morbidity (P = 0.003). There was a linear reduction of the corresponding common effect odds ratio (OR 0.93, 95% confidence interval, 0.88–0.97) for severe in-hospital outcomes for each 5 ng/mL increase in vitamin D concentration over the range from 4 to 44 ng/mL. In addition, we found that the odds versus patients with vitamin D <13 ng/mL (i.e., 1st quintile) were significantly lower in patients with vitamin D 13–20, 20–27, 27–36, and > 36 ng/mL (i.e., 2nd–5th quintiles); the corresponding estimated ORs were 0.65 (99% confidence interval, 0.43–0.98), 0.53 (0.35–0.80), 0.44 (0.28–0.70), and 0.49 (0.31–0.78), respectively. However, there was no statistically significant difference among individual quintiles >13 ng/mL.
CONCLUSIONS: Vitamin D concentrations were associated with a composite of in-hospital death, serious infections, and serious cardiovascular events in patients recovering from noncardiac surgery. While causality cannot be determined from our retrospective analysis, the association suggests that a large randomized trial of preoperative vitamin D supplementation and postoperative outcomes is warranted.