VDC test kit slider
VDC test kit slider

Vitamin D status decline during heart surgery linked to bypass machine

Posted on: July 15, 2013   by  Vitamin D Council


A significant decline in vitamin D status among children undergoing heart surgery was associated with the use of a machine that takes over heart function, according to research published in Anesthesiology. Cardiopulmonary bypass is a machine used to temporarily take over heart and lung function during heart surgery.

The prospective observational study was conducted at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario. The 58 participants had a mean age of 8.4 months and were scheduled for elective or semi-elective heart surgery.

Mean vitamin D status before surgery was 23 ng/ml, which decreased to 14 ng/ml following surgery, a 42% change. Forty-two percent of the infants had levels above 20 ng/ml before surgery. Following surgery 86% of infants had levels < 20 ng/ml. Four percent were severely deficient (<10 ng/ml) prior to surgery, although after surgery this increased to 27%. The authors report a 40% change in vitamin D levels during surgery.

Vitamin D levels remained fairly stable. One day following surgery 87% of infants had levels <20 ng/ml, with 24% considered severely deficient.

After collecting their data, the researchers compared vitamin D status decline between patients who didn’t receive cardiopulmonary bypass with a group who did. They report a significantly greater decrease in vitamin d status among the cardiopulmonary bypass group (p=0.01). The change in vitamin D status occurred when the cardiopulmonary bypass machine was initiated.

The authors also found that lower postoperative vitamin D status was associated with the need for fluids and catecholamines, “two established measures of cardiovascular and immune dysfunction.” Duration of intubation – used to assist with breathing during surgery – was also associated with lower vitamin D levels following surgery.

The authors want future research to focus on measuring changes in vitamin D status in children undergoing congenital heart disease surgery over a longer period of time.


McNally JD, et al. Impact of anesthesia and surgery for congenital heart disease on the vitamin D status of infants and children: a prospective longitudinal study. Anesthesiology, 2013.

Kaiser C. Kids’ heart-lung bypass need tied to vitamin D. Medpage Today. June 11, 2013.

Test Your Vitamin D Levels at Home!

Our in-home Vitamin D Test Kit is easy, affordable, and an accurate way to find out your Vitamin D status.

order NOW

We need your help!

We're spreading awareness on Vitamin D Deficiency
Donate NOW
Latest Articles
Widespread misunderstanding of infantile rickets, even among experts in the field

Dr. Cannell highlights several factors that lead to wrongly accused child abuse cases in infants with undiagnosed rickets.

Weekly Newsletter