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Vitamin D deficiency in children presenting to the emergency department: a growing concern. Vitamin D deficiency in Birmingham's children: presentation to the emergency department
  1. Lisa Kehler1,
  2. Sapna Verma2,
  3. Ruth Krone3,
  4. Emily Roper4
  1. 1SPR Paediatric ED Emergency Department, Birmingham Children's Hospital, Birmingham, UK
  2. 2Emergency Department, Birmingham Children's Hospital, Birmingham, West Midlands, UK
  3. 3Emergency Department, Birmingham Children's Hospital, Birmingham, UK
  4. 4Chase Terrace Technology College, Burntwood, West Midlands, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Lisa Kehler, SPR Paediatric ED Emergency Department, Birmingham Children's Hospital, Steel House Lane, Birmingham, UK;B4 6NH. lisakehler{at}


Introduction The increase in detected vitamin D deficiency appears to be multifactorial: an increasingly multicultural society, reduced exposure to sunlight due to concern about skin cancer and a more sedentary lifestyle and dietary changes within the population.

Methods This was a retrospective survey of children found to be vitamin D deficient after attending the emergency department from March 2009 until March 2010. These data were then subdivided according to their age, ethnic origin, presenting complaint and biochemical associated features.

Results We identified 89 patients with a low vitamin D level (total vitamin D levels less than 50 nmol/l), with 83% of those having very low vitamin D levels (less than 25 nmol/l). The most common presenting features were abdominal pain (19%), a seizure (17%) and limb pain (15%). The most common ethnic origins in our series were Pakistani (37%) followed by black African (11.2%).

Conclusions Vitamin D deficiency should be considered in children with pigmented skin presenting with a range of symptoms. The detected vitamin D deficiency probably represents only a very small proportion of the vitamin D deficiency in children in Birmingham.

  • paediatric emergency med
  • planning
  • musculo-skeletal, non traumatic problems
  • abdomen- non trauma

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