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Vitamin d deficiency/insufficiency practice patterns in a veterans health administration long-term care population: a retrospective analysis.

Braddy KK, Imam SN, Palla KR, Lee TA. Vitamin d deficiency/insufficiency practice patterns in a veterans health administration long-term care population: a retrospective analysis. Journal of The American Medical Directors Association. 2009 Nov 1; 10(9):653-7.

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OBJECTIVES: To evaluate the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency/insufficiency in long-term care patients at a Veterans Health Administration (VHA) hospital and to assess treatment and follow-up of low vitamin D levels. DESIGN: Observational cohort study. SETTING: VA hospital extended care center (ECC). PARTICIPANTS: 2218 ECC patients between January 2001 and December 2006 were screened. MEASUREMENT: Serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25[OH]D) level, vitamin D therapy regimen, time to follow-up, documented adverse event to vitamin D therapy. RESULTS: Of 2218 patients admitted to the ECC during the study period, 229 (10%) had a vitamin D level measured. Among these 229 patients, 49% were vitamin D sufficient (25[OH]D > or = 30 ng/mL), 14% were insufficient (25[OH]D = 21-29 ng/mL), and 37% were deficient (25[OH]D < or = 20 ng/mL). Sixty-nine percent of patients with low vitamin D levels received some form of vitamin D therapy, whereas 43% received treatment as well as follow-up evaluation of vitamin D status within 3 months. Only 13% received a formulation of vitamin D appropriate for the severity of their deficiency/insufficiency with concurrent calcium supplementation and had a repeat vitamin D level within 3 months. CONCLUSION: Vitamin D levels were measured infrequently in long-term care patients. Among those monitored, the rate of vitamin D deficiency/insufficiency is high. Few patients with low vitamin D status received proper treatment and follow-up. These data support the need to educate physicians regarding the high prevalence of vitamin D insufficiency/deficiency among long-term care patients to ensure that patients with low vitamin D levels are identified and treated appropriately.

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