Background. Vitamin D deficiency has been reported in different chronic pulmonary diseases like asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, but little is known in lung transplant recipients.
Methods. Serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25-OHD) levels and pulmonary function (forced expiratory volume in 1 sec [FEV1] %predicted) were measured in 131 lung transplant patients during their yearly posttransplant check-up hospital stay, and the total number of infections and perivascular/peribronchiolar rejections were assessed from transplantation on.
Results. Vitamin D deficiency (<30 ng/mL) occurred in 62 of 131 patients (47.3%), of whom 26 (19.8%) were severely deficient (<20 ng/mL). The FEV1 was significantly lower in the deficient group compared with the group with normal levels (P=0.019). Moreover, we could find an association between FEV1 and 25-OHD levels in univariate analysis (P=0.018), which remained significant in multivariate analysis (P=0.012). The same holds true for the association between 25-OHD levels and the peak postoperative FEV1 (P=0.021 in multivariate analysis). We also identified significantly more patients with moderate to severe B-grade rejections in the deficient group (P=0.0038).
Conclusion. Vitamin D deficiency is present in 47% of our lung transplant patients and seems independently associated with a lower FEV1 and more severe B-grade rejections. This study raises the potential need for additional vitamin D treatment in lung transplantation and clearly indicates the role of a randomized placebo-controlled trial with vitamin D supplementation, which is ongoing in our center.