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Half of the patients with an acute hip fracture suffer from hypovitaminosis D: a prospective study in southeastern Finland

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Vitamin D deficiency may be one important contributing risk factor for an osteoporotic fracture among elderly. We analyzed serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D [S-25(OH)D] status in patients with an acute hip fracture in southeastern Finland (61°N). Consecutive patients with a fresh hip fracture ( n =223) in two Finnish hospitals during 12 months and 15 months were registered prospectively. S-25(OH)D concentrations (nmol/l) were measured by radioimmunoassay-method. Hypovitaminosis D was defined as S-25(OH)D <37.5 nmol/l and severe hypovitaminosis D:<20 nmol/l. The highest threshold of S-25(OH)D in our analysis was >74 nmol/l. The seasonal variation in S-25(OH)D concentrations was followed. Hypovitaminosis D was found in 53% of the patients. In 9% hypovitaminosis D was severe. Half (50%) of the patients living in their own homes, 55% of those in residential homes, and 61% of institutionalized elderly had hypovitaminosis D. Patients who used both vitamin D and calcium supplement had S-25(OH)D levels between 37.5 nmol/l and 74 nmol/l and >74 nmol/l more often than non-users ( Wx =3.85, p =0.0001). Most (41/61) of the patients who sustained the fracture during the late summer months had S-25(OH)D concentration ≥37.5 nmol/l, whereas, in winter months the situation was quite the opposite (24/67) ( Wx =3.42, p =0.0006). Twenty-two percent (50/223) had S-25(OH)D concentration >50 nmol/l and four patients >78 nmol/l. Half of the patients with a hip fracture suffered from hypovitaminosis D. The situation was worst in institutional and residential care, although there are personnel for taking care of vitamin D supplementation. In the late summer, one-third and in late winter two-thirds of the patients suffered from hypovitaminosis D. The geographical location of Finland indicates extensive efforts to increase the use of vitamin D supplements among elderly.

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The study was supported by grants from the EVO foundations of the Kymenlaakso and Päijät- Häme health care districts and the Medical Association of Kouvola Region

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Correspondence to Ilona Nurmi.

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Nurmi, I., Kaukonen, JP., Lüthje, P. et al. Half of the patients with an acute hip fracture suffer from hypovitaminosis D: a prospective study in southeastern Finland. Osteoporos Int 16, 2018–2024 (2005).

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