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Information on the latest vitamin D news and research.

Find out more information on deficiency, supplementation, sun exposure, and how vitamin D relates to your health.

The economic impact of vitamin D deficiency

A recent study determined that vitamin D deficiency is linked with a significant financial burden on hospitals and third party payers.

Vitamin D deficiency is a worldwide problem, affecting at least a third of the population; though, some researchers believe an even greater number of people may be deficient.

Although many individuals who are vitamin D deficient present no symptoms at all, research has shown that low vitamin D status is associated with a prolonged length of hospital stay and an increased risk of mortality in critically ill individuals.

Despite the abundant research on the health implications of vitamin D deficiency in the hospital setting, no studies to date have evaluated the economic implications of this.

Therefore, researchers recently aimed to determine the relationship between vitamin D deficiency (< 18 ng/ml) and intensive care unit (ICU) cost, total hospital cost, ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP), myocardial infarction (MI) and total hospital stays. Critically ill patients with either VAP, or those who have had a MI (heart attack), may experience an increased length of hospital stay, cost of care and risk of mortality.

Here is what the researchers found:

  • Of the 565 patients, those with vitamin D levels less than 18 ng/ml experienced an increased incidence of VAP (24.3% vs. 15.5%, P= 0.024).
  • 6% of vitamin D deficient individuals suffered MI, compared to 2.8% in those with vitamin D level > 18 ng/ml (P = 0.031).
  • Those with low vitamin D levels stayed in the ICU longer than those with higher vitamin D levels (11.4 ± 0.95 vs. 8.11 ± 1.1 days, P= 0.03),
  • Low vitamin D status was linked with an increased ICU financial cost ($43,965 ± 3,683 vs. 31,274 ± 4,311, P=0.033) and Hospital ward cost ($29,780 ± 2,501 vs. 19,418 ± 1,923, P=0.005).
  • VAP and MI’s added $40,000 and $70,000 to hospital costs, respectively.

The researchers concluded,

“Vitamin D3 deficiency is associated with a significant financial impact on hospital and third party payers. Further studies are needed to calculate the full economic impact on hospitals, states, countries, and third party payers.”

Citation

Sturges, M. & Cannell, JJ. Does vitamin D deficiency economically impact hospitals and third party payers? Vitamin D Council Blog/Newsletter, November 25, 2015.                  

Source

Mathews, L. et al. 1300: Economic impact of vitamin D levels less than 18 ng/ml on hospitals and third party payers. Critical Care Medicine, 2015.

  About: Missy Sturges

Missy is the Executive Director for the Vitamin D Council, and is responsible for overseeing the administration, programs and strategic planning of the organization. She also focuses on writing articles, fundraising and keeping up with the latest research. Her passion for vitamin D derives from her personal battle with an unexplained inflammatory disorder.

One Response to The economic impact of vitamin D deficiency

  1. If you are interested, there are 56 previous studies of cost savings with Vitamin D: http://vitamindwiki.com/tiki-index.php?page_id=7151, which include several by the same principal author