A new study from Korea reports that patients with vitamin D deficiency seem to be more likely to have a poor neurological outcome or die after sudden cardiac arrest.
In the observational study, death cases, cerebral performance and blood vitamin D concentrations were measured among 53 unconscious patients resuscitated from sudden cardiac arrest (1). The study results showed that 29% of the patients with vitamin D deficiency (less than 10 ng/mL) had died at six months compared to none of the patients with good vitamin D levels. The average vitamin D level was 10.3 ng/mL with 59% being deficient. 65% of patients with vitamin D deficiency had a poor neurological outcome at six months after discharge compared to 23% of patients with better vitamin D levels (12.4 ng/mL). Vitamin D deficiency was identified as an independent risk factor for increasing the risk for a poor brain function after sudden cardiac arrest by seven-fold.
The researchers commented that in patients resuscitated after sudden cardiac arrest, besides survival, recovery of neurological function is very important. Vitamin D deficiency has been reported to be related to the risk of having various cardiovascular diseases, including sudden cardiac arrest. Other risk factors for cardiac arrest include a family history of heart disease, smoking, obesity, diabetes, a sedentary lifestyle, high blood pressure and high cholesterol, and drinking too much alcohol. A large randomized clinical trial is needed to find out whether supplements of vitamin D can protect high risk groups from having a sudden cardiac arrest.