New research presented at the Acute Cardiovascular Care 2014 meeting has found that low vitamin D levels greatly increases the risk of poor cognitive function following a cardiac arrest.
Researchers analyzed data from 53 patients who had been resuscitated from sudden cardiac arrest. They looked at the vitamin D levels at the time of the event as well as Cerebral Performance Category (CPC) scores 6 months after being discharged from the hospital.
CPC is a scale that health professionals use to determine the neurological function of their patients. It categorizes brain function in one of five categories with one indicating good cerebral performance and 5 indicating poor performance or even brain death. Brain death is the complete and irreversible loss of brain function.
In this study, good brain function was defined as a CPC score of 1 or 2 and bad brain function was defined as a CPC score of 3 to 5.
Those with a score of 3 to 5 had significantly lower vitamin D levels compared to those with a score of 1 or 2, with an average level of 7.9 ng/ml and 12.4 ng/ml, respectively. Sixty-five percent of patients with vitamin D levels lower than 10 ng/ml had poor cognitive outcomes at 6 months compared to 23% of those with higher levels.
The researchers’ analyses revealed that having a vitamin D level lower than 10 ng/ml was independently associated with a 7 times increased risk of poor cognitive outcome.
“Vitamin D deficiency increased the risk of poor neurological outcome after sudden cardiac arrest by 7-fold,” said Dr. Jin Wi, who presented the study. “The only factors that had a greater impact on poor neurological outcome were the absence of bystander CPR or having a first monitored heart rhythm that was non-shockable.”
The researchers call for large randomized controlled trials to determine if vitamin D supplementation can protect this patient population, which at high risk of sudden cardiac arrest.