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

Ann Am Thorac Soc. 2014 Feb;11(2):198-204. doi: 10.1513/AnnalsATS.201208-068OC.


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Cohort Studies
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Cystic Fibrosis / epidemiology*
  • Cystic Fibrosis / physiopathology
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Hospitalization / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Pseudomonas Infections / epidemiology*
  • Pseudomonas Infections / physiopathology
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa*
  • Respiratory Function Tests
  • Respiratory Tract Infections / epidemiology*
  • Respiratory Tract Infections / physiopathology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Vitamin D / analogs & derivatives
  • Vitamin D / blood
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / blood
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / epidemiology*


  • Vitamin D
  • 25-hydroxyvitamin D