Treatment of Hypovitaminosis D in an Orthopaedic Trauma Population

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To determine the incidence of hypovitaminosis D and to evaluate a supplementation intervention. We hypothesized that patients would exhibit high adherence with a free sample, and levels would become sufficient.


Prospective observational study.


Level 1 trauma center.


One hundred forty-four consecutive, skeletally mature patients treated for acute fractures.


All were provided 600 mg calcium and 800 IU vitamin D3 capsules twice daily.

Main Outcome Measurements:

Serum 25(OH) D levels were obtained on presentation and after supplementation. Patient surveys determined adherence, vitamin D intake, and sun exposure.


Ninety-one men and 53 women, mean age 45 years, mean body mass index 28.1, were studied. Mean baseline 25(OH) D level was 20.2 ng/mL, including 9 patients taking vitamin D supplements before injury. All others (mean baseline 16.9 ng/mL) were prescribed calcium and vitamin D and were offered free supplements when discharged. Seventy-seven patients completed surveys, and mean 25(OH) D level was 36.7 ng/mL after a mean of 7.0 weeks of supplementation (P < 0.0001). Seventy-nine percent reported adherence to supplement recommendations. All adherent patients achieved normal levels. Sixteen patients were nonadherent, with 10 who forgot to take the supplement, 4 choosing not to use it, 1 choosing to sell the sample, and 1 losing the sample.


Hypovitaminosis D was present in 97% of orthopaedic trauma patients who were not already taking supplements. The intervention was effective in reducing hypovitaminosis D within several weeks, with all supplemented patients achieving normal levels. Seventy-nine percent of patients adhered to recommendations. Further study to determine the long-term cost-effectiveness of this strategy seems warranted.

Level of Evidence:

Therapeutic, Level II. See Instructions for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.

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