Using Vitamin D to prevent hospital readmissions with acute lower respiratory infections (ALRIs)

Associate Professor Cameron Grant
University of Auckland

What is the problem and who does it affect?

Ten per cent of children under two-years-of-age in NZ will be hospitalised with an acute respiratory infection with 80 per cent of these being lower respiratory tract infections (ALRI); one quarter of which will be re-admitted in the future as a result of recurrent ALRI.

The risk of being hospitalised is four to five times greater for children living in the most versus the least deprived 20 per cent of households, with similarly stark disparities among ethnicities. Dr Cameron Grant, a paediatrician at the University of Auckland.


What does this research project entail?

Starship Children’s Hospital, will carry out a trial intervention to prevent readmission from ALRIs through vitamin D supplementation.

The intervention is building on similar research carried out overseas, however, before widespread adoption of any clinical practice, it is paramount that it be tested in the relevant population. Moreover, 50 per cent of New Zealand newborns are vitamin D deficient, providing an added justification for intervention.

The trial will enrol 600 children under two-years-of-age, and will take place over a period of 18 months. Half of the children will take vitamin D supplements for 12 months, while the other half will be administered a placebo. Data will be collected throughout the study through interviews and medical records.


Will this research inform best-practise?

Results of the study will inform Starship Clinical Guidelines, which are used by clinicians throughout New Zealand in the care of children admitted to hospital.