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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 66  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 194-199

Vitamin D assessment and precision of clinical referrals: Insights gained from a teaching hospital in southern India

1 Department of Clinical Biochemistry, Christian Medical College and Hospital, Vellore, India
2 Internal Medicine, Christian Medical College and Hospital, Vellore, India
3 Endocrinology, Christian Medical College and Hospital, Vellore, India

Correspondence Address:
K E Cherian
Endocrinology, Christian Medical College and Hospital, Vellore
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jpgm.JPGM_599_19

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Objective: Vitamin D deficiency is widely prevalent worldwide. This has led to a significant surge in referrals for vitamin D assessment in recent years. The cost-effectiveness and rationalization of this practice is uncertain. This study aimed to evaluate the referral pattern for vitamin D testing from a tertiary center in southern India. Materials and Methods: This was a cross-sectional study done over a period of one year (2017). A total of 95,750 individuals, referred for vitamin D screening were included in this study. Details regarding referring departments and indications for referral were obtained from the computerized hospital information processing system (CHIPS). Results: The study population exhibited a female preponderance (54.1%) with mean (SD) age of 40.3 (18.5) years. Overall, 44% were found to have vitamin D deficiency. Most of the referrals were from nephrology (15.4%), neurology (10.1%), and orthopedics (9.1%). Nevertheless, dermatology, the staff-clinic, and hematology which contributed to 3.3%, 1.7%, and 1.7% of referrals, had a higher proportion of vitamin D deficiency of 59.1%, 57.7%, and 64.6%, respectively. Although the most common indications for referral were generalized body aches (20.5%) and degenerative bone disorders (20.1%), the proportion of subjects with vitamin D deficiency referred for these indications were 46.1% and 41.6%, respectively. In contrast, chronic steroid use that accounted for 3.3% of the referrals had 59.1% of subjects who were deficient in vitamin D. Conclusion: To ensure a rational approach to vitamin D testing, clinicians ought to use their discretion to screen those truly at risk for vitamin D deficiency on a case to case basis and avoid indiscriminate testing of the same.


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Online since 12th February '04
2004 - Journal of Postgraduate Medicine
Official Publication of the Staff Society of the Seth GS Medical College and KEM Hospital, Mumbai, India
Published by Wolters Kluwer - Medknow