Congestive heart failureVitamin D levels

Congestive heart failure (CHF) has been found in infants who are dark skinned and breast fed in England:

METHODS AND RESULTS: A retrospective review from 2000 to 2006 in southeast England. Sixteen infants (6 Indian subcontinent, 10 black ethnicity) were identified: median (range) age at presentation was 5.3 months (3 weeks-8 months). All had been breast fed. Ten presented at the end of the British winter (February-May). …. Median (range) of biochemical values on admission was: total calcium 1.5 (1.07-1.74) mmol/l; alkaline phosphatase 646 (340-1057) IU/l; 25-hydroxyvitamin D 18.5 (0-46) nmol/l (normal range >35) and parathyroid hormone 34.3 (8.9-102) pmol/l (normal range <6.1). The clinical markers and echocardiographic indices of all survivors have improved. The mean time from diagnosis to achieve normal fractional shortening was 12.4 months.
CONCLUSIONS: Vitamin D deficiency and consequent hypocalcaemia are seen in association with severe and life-threatening infant heart failure. That no infant or mother was receiving the recommended vitamin supplementation highlights the need for adequate provision of vitamin D to ethnic minority populations1.

In a study Austria of 3299 Caucasian patients who were routinely referred to coronary angiography at baseline (1997-2000):

Serum 25(OH)D was … inversely associated with higher New York Heart Association classes and impaired left ventricular function. During a median follow-up time of 7.7 yr, 116 patients died due to heart failure and 188 due to sudden cardiac death (SCD). After adjustment for cardiovascular risk factors, the hazard ratios (with 95% confidence intervals) for death due to heart failure and for SCD were 2.84 (1.20-6.74) and 5.05 (2.13-11.97), respectively, when comparing patients with severe vitamin D deficiency [25(OH)D <25 nmol/liter)] with persons in the optimal range [25(OH)D > or =75 nmol/liter]2.

Heart transplant patients seem to have low serum 25(OH)D levels. A study in New York reported:

Forty-six heart and 23 liver transplant recipients were evaluated (mean age 53 yr). Mean 25OHD was well below the lower limit of the normal range (43.2 +/- 21.2 nmol/L). Ninety-one percent had levels below 75 nmol/L, the threshold commonly used to denote sufficiency, and 71% had levels below 50 nmol/L. Severe deficiency (25OHD <25 nmol/L) was found in 16%. Vitamin D levels did not differ by race, age, gender, or season. Mean 25OHD was lower among liver than heart transplant recipients (34.4 +/- 17.5 vs. 47.7 +/- 20.7 nmol/L; p < 0.03). Among liver transplant recipients, 22% had undetectable levels (<17 nmol/L)3.

Since the liver hydroxylates vitamin D to 25(OH)D, this finding makes sense.

A study in Germany found better survival with CHF for those with higher 25(OH)D and 1,25(OH)2D levels:

METHODS: This prospective cohort study included 510 patients, 67.7% with heart failure (two-thirds in end stage), 64.3% hypertension, 33.7% coronary heart disease, 20.2% diabetes, and 17.3% renal failure. We followed the patients for up to 1 year after blood collection. For data analysis, the study cohort was stratified into quintiles of circulating calcitriol (1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D or 1,25(OH)2D) concentrations.
RESULTS: Patients in the lowest calcitriol quintile were more likely to have coronary heart disease, heart failure, hypertension, diabetes, and renal failure compared to other patients. They also had low 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentrations and high concentrations of creatinine, C-reactive protein, and tumor necrosis factor alpha. Eighty-two patients (16.0%) died during follow-up. Probability of 1-year survival was 66.7% in the lowest calcitriol quintile, 82.2% in the second quintile, 86.7% in the intermediate quintile, 88.8% in the fourth quintile, and 96.1% in the highest quintile (P < 0.001). Discrimination between survivors and nonsurvivors was best when a cutoff value of 25 ng/L was applied (area under the ROC curve 0.72; 95% CI 0.66-0.78)4.

A second study in Germany found similar results:

25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] was measured in 1108 diabetic haemodialysis patients who participated in the German Diabetes and Dialysis Study and were followed up for a median of 4 years. By Cox regression analyses, we determined hazard ratios (HR) for pre-specified, adjudicated endpoints according to baseline 25(OH)D levels: SCD (n = 146), myocardial infarction (MI, n = 174), stroke (n = 89), cardiovascular events (CVE, n = 414), death due to heart failure (n = 37), fatal infection (n = 111), and all-cause mortality (n = 545). Patients had a mean age of 66 ± 8 years (54% male) and median 25(OH)D of 39 nmol/L (interquartile range: 28-55). Patients with severe vitamin D deficiency [25(OH)D of ≤ 25 nmol/L] had a 3-fold higher risk of SCD compared with those with sufficient 25(OH)D levels >75 nmol/L [HR: 2.99, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.39-6.40]5.

As did a study in Italy:

The study was performed at geographic latitude 44° N, from March to May and from September to November 2008. Acute HF and diseases or drugs altering vitamin D status were exclusion criteria. NYHA scores and 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D], 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D and NT-proBNP concentrations were assessed in 90 (45 F, 45 M) Caucasian patients with CHF secondary to hypertension and/or coronary artery disease. Vitamin D levels were also measured in 31 subjects without heart disease (controls). LV echocardiography was performed in 52 (26 F, 26 M) representative patients. Vitamin D concentrations were significantly lower in CHF cases than in controls. Among subject with CHF, 97.8% presented vitamin D deficiency (25(OH)D<75 nmol/L), being severe (<25 nmol/L) in 66.7%. LV end-diastolic and end-systolic diameters were significantly longer, LV end-diastolic and end-systolic volumes bigger and fractional shortening lower in CHF patients with 25(OH)D<25 nmol/L than with 25(OH)D≥25 nmol/L (p<0.05). Log-values of 25(OH)D were negatively correlated with LV end-systolic diameter and volume (r=-0.28; p<0.05). On subgroup analysis, these results persisted only in male patients.
CONCLUSIONS: In elderly CHF patients, vitamin D deficiency was highly prevalent and often severe. This first addressed echocardiography study showed a sex-specific association between vitamin D deficiency and LV dilation. Since further echocardiography data are easily obtainable, larger investigations are demanded6.

Elevated parathyroid hormone (PTH) levels are associated with increased risk of HF hospitalizations7. Serum PTH levels are inversely correlated with serum 25(OH)D levels up to 30 ng/ml, after which there is little additional change8.

A study in Atlanta, Georgia studying markers of inflammation found that doubling of serum interleukin (IL)-6 and tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) associated with increased risk of HF9. Higher serum 25(OH)D levels are associated with reduced levels of IL-6 and TFN-alpha10.

Page last edited: 06 May 2011


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