Vitamin D deficiency is associated with pulmonary exacerbations in children with cystic fibrosis

Laura A. McCauley, William Thomas, Theresa A. Laguna, Warren E. Regelmann, Antoinette Moran, Lynda E. Polgreen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

64 Scopus citations


Rationale: Recent literature suggests vitamin D has an effect on lung function and on the lung's ability to fight infection, both important in the cystic fibrosis (CF) population as predictors of morbidity and mortality. Objectives: Our study assessed associations between vitamin D and % predicted lung function, pulmonary exacerbations, and first Pseudomonas aeruginosa infection in children with CF. We hypothesized that children with CF who have 25-hydroxy vitamin D (25-OHD) levels less than 30 μg/L would have lower % predicted lung function and more pulmonary exacerbations than those with 25-OHD greater than or equal to 30 μg/L. Methods: This retrospective longitudinal study of 130 children aged 6 to 18 years between 2000 and 2012 examined 25-OHD levels classed in three vitamin D groups: sufficient (≥30 μg/L), insufficient (20-29 μg/L), and deficient <20 μg/L). Longitudinal models followed individuals' changing vitamin D groups over time to compare numbers of pulmonary exacerbations (defined by hospitalization), incidence of first P. aeruginosa infection, and % predicted lung function. Cross-sectional comparisons between vitamin D groups were performed at ages 8, 12, and 16 years. Measurements and Main Results: The prevalence of vitamin D deficiency and insufficiency increased slowly through adolescence. The rate of exacerbations for the deficient vitamin D group, aged 15 to 18 years, was 13.1 per 10 patient-years, significantly higher than 4.3 per 10 patient-years for the insufficient and sufficient vitamin D groups (P < 0.05), which were not significantly different There were no differences between vitamin D groups in pulmonary function or incidence of first P. aeruginosa infection, which was about 2 per 10 patient-years. Conclusions: Higher 25-OHD levels in children with CF were associated with lower rates of pulmonary exacerbations and, in adolescents, higher FEV1.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)198-204
Number of pages7
JournalAnnals of the American Thoracic Society
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2014


  • Lung diseases
  • Pediatrics
  • Vitamin D


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