Effects of vitamin D insufficiency on sepsis severity and risk of hospitalisation in emergency department patients: a cross-sectional study

BMJ Open. 2023 Jan 17;13(1):e064985. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2022-064985.


Objective: To evaluate the association of 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) level on sepsis severity and risk of hospitalisation in emergency department (ED) septic patients when categorised as vitamin D insufficiency according to the level of 25(OH)D<30 ng/mL.

Design: Cross-sectional observational study.

Setting: A 900-bed academic tertiary hospital with an ED residency training programme in Bangkok, Thailand.

Participants: An observational study of 101 ED septic patients aged ≥18 years was conducted between March 2015 and September 2015.

Outcome measures: The level of 25(OH)D was analysed and correlated with sepsis severity assessed by Acute Physiology Age Chronic Health Evaluation-II (APACHE-II) and Mortality in ED Sepsis (MEDS) scores, and the risk of hospitalisation.

Results: One hundred and one patients were enrolled, with an average age of 68±18 years, 56% female, APACHE-II score of 14±6, MEDS score of 8±5 and 25(OH)D level was 19±11 ng/mL. The prevalence of vitamin D insufficiency in our ED septic patients was 87% and the admission rate was 88%. A significant association between 25(OH)D level and sepsis severity scores was found, which was measured by APACHE-II and MEDS scores (-0.29; 95% CI -0.41 to -0.17, p<0.001 and -0.15; 95% CI -0.25 to -0.06, p=0.002, respectively). However, vitamin D insufficiency could not determine hospitalisation (OR=1.42; 95% CI 0.27 to 7.34; p=0.68 and OR=1.65; 95% CI 0.07 to 41.7; p=0.76 when adjusted by baseline covariates).

Conclusions: The vitamin D insufficiency of septic patients in our ED was high and had a significant negative association with sepsis severity. However, vitamin D insufficiency status cannot predict the hospitalisation of septic patients who were admitted to the ED. Further research is needed to investigate the role of vitamin D supplementation in the ED in affecting sepsis severity.

Trial registration number: TCTR20151127001.

Keywords: accident & emergency medicine; geriatric medicine; intensive & critical care.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Emergency Service, Hospital
  • Female
  • Hospitalization
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prognosis
  • Sepsis* / complications
  • Sepsis* / epidemiology
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Thailand / epidemiology
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamins


  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamins