Vitamin D sufficiency could have neuroprotective effect in sudden cardiac arrest

Vitamin D sufficiency could have neuroprotective effect in sudden cardiac arrest

Life Extension Update

Tuesday, October 28, 2014. The Acute Cardiovascular Care 2014 meeting held October 18-20 in Geneva was the site of a presentation by Dr Jin Wi of a protective effect for sufficient vitamin D levels against diminished brain function or death following sudden cardiac arrest.

"In patients resuscitated after sudden cardiac arrest, recovery of neurological function is very important, as well as survival," commented Dr Wi. "Vitamin D deficiency has been reported to be related to the risk of having various cardiovascular diseases, including sudden cardiac arrest. We investigated the association of vitamin D deficiency with neurologic outcome after sudden cardiac arrest, a topic on which there is no information so far."

The prospective study included 53 patients at Severance Cardiovascular Hospital in Seoul, Korea who were resuscitated from sudden cardiac arrest of presumed cardiac cause. Neurologic outcome was assessed by Cerebral Performance Category scores six months following hospital discharge. Analysis of serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels uncovered deficiency, defined as having levels lower than 10 nanograms per milliliter, in 31 patients.

While 29% of vitamin D-deficient subjects were no longer living at six months, there were no deaths among the sufficient group. Sixty-five percent of deficient subjects had poor neurologic outcome six months after being discharged from the hospital in comparison with 23% of those who were sufficient. Multivariate logistic analysis uncovered a 7.13 higher risk of poor neurologic outcome in association with vitamin D deficiency in comparison with having sufficient levels of the vitamin.

"Patients with vitamin D deficiency were more likely to have a poor neurological outcome or die after sudden cardiac arrest than those who were not deficient," Dr Wi observed. "Nearly one-third of the patients who were deficient in vitamin D had died six months after their cardiac arrest, whereas all patients with sufficient vitamin D levels were still alive."

"Vitamin D deficiency increased the risk of poor neurological outcome after sudden cardiac arrest by seven-fold," he noted. "The only factors that had a greater impact on poor neurological outcome were the absence of bystander CPR or having a first monitored heart rhythm that was non-shockable."

"Our findings suggest that vitamin D deficiency should be avoided, especially in people with a high risk of sudden cardiac arrest," Dr Wi added. "People are at higher risk if they have a personal or family history of heart disease including heart rhythm disorders, congenital heart defects and cardiac arrest. Other risk factors for cardiac arrest include smoking, obesity, diabetes, a sedentary lifestyle, high blood pressure and high cholesterol, and drinking too much alcohol."

"A large randomized clinical trial is needed to find out whether supplements of vitamin D can protect high risk groups from having a sudden cardiac arrest," he concluded.

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Lower risk of mortality over thirteen year period in association with higher levels of vitamin D
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The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition published an article on September 17, 2014 that revealed a lower risk of dying over a 13 year average follow-up period among those whose serum vitamin D levels were highest in comparison with those whose were lowest.

Researchers at the University of Cambridge measured 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] levels in stored serum samples from 14,641 participants in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition, who were between the ages of 42 and 82 years from 1997 to 2000. Subjects were followed until December 2012.

For men and women whose serum vitamin D levels were among the highest one-fifth of participants at an average of 36 ng/mL or more, there was a 27% lower adjusted risk of dying from all causes over follow-up in comparison with those whose levels were among the lowest fifth at less than 12 ng/mL. Those whose vitamin D levels were highest had a lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease and other causes, and cardiovascular events, respiratory disease events and fractures were also reduced.

"This 13-year prospective study in a free-living, middle-aged and older British population provides additional support for the hypothesis that vitamin D status is associated with a range of important health outcomes including respiratory disease, cardiovascular disease, fractures, and total mortality," Kay-Tee Khaw and colleagues write. "Only 1% of the population had concentrations greater than 120 nmol/L [48 ng/mL]. Within this observed population range, there was no evidence for increased mortality for 25(OH)D greater than 90 [36 ng/mL] or greater than 120 nmol/L [48 ng/mL], suggesting that a moderate increase in population mean concentrations may have a potential health benefit for preventing deficiency without increasing risk."

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Health Concern


brain volume  

Arrhythmias are abnormalities in heart rate or rhythm. They arise from disruption of the electrical conduction system within cardiac tissue, which must be properly synchronized to maintain normal heart rhythm. Arrhythmias often occur in people who have some form of underlying heart disease, such as coronary artery disease, but a healthy heart is not immune to abnormal heart rate or rhythm (UoMMC 2012; MayoClinic 2011a; NHLBI 2011a,b).

Some arrhythmias, such as ventricular fibrillation, can be immediately life threatening because they impact the pumping action of the heart substantially enough to disrupt blood supply to the body, potentially leading to sudden cardiac death, one of the most common causes of death in the United States (Estes 2011; Tung 2012; Chugh 2008; MayoClinic 2011a). Atrial fibrillation is a common type of arrhythmia that is usually not life-threatening in its own right, but can dramatically increase risk of having a stroke because a blood clot can form within the fibrillating atria and then lodge in blood vessel(s) that supply the brain (Narumiya 2003; Schmidt 2011; Prasad 2012). Still other arrhythmias, such as premature ventricular contractions, are fairly common and not usually considered significant health threats (UoMMC 2012; NHLBI 2011b).

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