Characteristics of Vitamin D deficiency hypocalcemia inpatient admissions at a single tertiary center

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Journal of pediatric endocrinology & metabolism : JPEM




Vitamin D and calcium nutrition; dietary management; hypocalcemia


Severe 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) deficiency can result in life-threatening presentations due to hypocalcemia leading to seizures and cardiac arrhythmias. Vitamin D deficiency is a common cause of hypocalcemia and rickets in children; however, there are no recent studies on the burden of inpatient admissions in the United States. Our study aims to describe the clinical characteristics and risk factors of inpatient admissions due to severe hypocalcemia and 25(OH)D deficiency at a freestanding academic children's hospital. A descriptive retrospective chart review was completed on all inpatient admissions from 2016 to 2021 for children 0-18 years of age with corrected calcium <8 mg/dL and 25(OH)D <10 ng/mL during admission. Thirty-eight patients met the inclusion criteria (74 % Black/African American). Neurological signs described in 49 %, bone abnormalities in 17 % and EKG abnormalities in 42 % of the patients. The mean calcium serum level was 6.0 mmol/L (range 5.0-7.9 mmol/L), the mean iCa 0.77 mmol/L (range 0.54-0.99 mmol/L). The mean level of 25(OH)D was 5.5 ng/mL (range 2.1-9.7 ng/mL). The median length of stay was 4.5 (range 1-59 days). In this retrospective observational study, risk factors identified: (1) Black/African American race (2) age less than two years (3) lack of supplementation of vitamin D and (4) dietary restrictions. Inpatient admissions are preventable through the implementation of education at the community and healthcare levels.