Investigation and management of vitamin d deficiency/insufficiency-a service evaluation
Introduction Vitamin D is essential for bone and skeletal health. The major natural source of Vitamin D is from skin exposure to sunlight. Current evidence suggests that there isn't enough ambient ultraviolet sunlight from October to April in UK (UK). Similarly, there are reports of rickets re-emerging in parts of UK. There is no internationally agreed consensus regarding cut off value denoting Vitamin D insufficiency/deficiency. Variable practice exits in treating symptomatic and asymptomatic children with Vitamin D insufficiency/deficiency. Aim To evaluate our current practice in investigating and managing children with subnormal Vitamin D levels (<50 nmol/l). Method We carried out a retrospective data review on all patients <17 years of age who had vitamin D levels checked in a District General Hospital setting. Data was collected from 2008-2012 and analysed using Microsoft excel. Results Vitamin D levels were checked on 136 occasions in 89 patients (60% male). 41% of the values were above 50 nmol/l while 20% were <20 nmol/l. ~3/4 values of <20 nmol/l were from children of Indian and Pakistani origin. 80% of patients with values <50 were treated with oral Vitamin D supplementation. Treatment dose varied from 400-10000 IU/day to 20000-40000 IU/week (ergocalciferol or cholecalciferol). Conclusion Our data reiterates lack of unified guidance and variable practice amongst clinicians managing Vitamin D deficiency/insufficiency. Careful attention is required when managing South Asian children with chronic illnesses. There is urgent need for multicentre/national research and unified guideline for prevention and treatment of Vitamin D deficiency in children.