Muscle weakness in intensive care patients: initial manifestation of vitamin D deficiency

Intensive Care Med. 1994 Nov;20(8):591-2. doi: 10.1007/BF01705729.


A 72-year-old woman was referred to hospital for obnubilation with general muscle weakness and hypotonia. Biology showed hypocalcemia, hypophosphatemia, increased serum creatine kinase and alkaline phosphatase levels. Brain CT scan, cerebrospinal fluid examination, and electromyogram were normal. Clinical status and electroencephalogram were consistent with non-convulsive generalized status epilepticus. The treatment included clonazepam and CaCl2 and consciousness returned to normal. A treatment with multivitamin infusion containing vitamin D2 was given for 3 weeks. Muscle weakness improved partially. Serum vitamin D3 level was low and osteomalacic myopathy was diagnosed. A treatment was given with 25OH vitamin D3, 50 micrograms per day. Two months later, serum vitamin D3 and creatine kinase levels were normal and the patient could walk without help. We conclude that vitamin D status should be monitored in elderly patients with muscle symptoms and abnormal calcium status. Osteomalacic myopathy should be considered in critically ill patients with muscle symptoms of an unclear cause.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypocalcemia / etiology
  • Muscle Hypotonia / etiology*
  • Osteomalacia / etiology
  • Vitamin D / therapeutic use
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / complications*
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / diagnosis*
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / drug therapy


  • Vitamin D