Vitamin D status of human immunodeficiency virus–positive patients with advanced liver disease enrolled in the solid organ transplantation in HIV: Multi-site study


  • This work was supported by the National Institutes of Health (AI052748, DA031095, DK090317, and DK00779211).

  • The contents of this publication are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.

  • The authors of this article have no conflicts of interest to disclose.


An optimal vitamin D status may benefit liver transplantation (LT) patients. Higher levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] mitigate steroid-induced bone loss after LT, correlate with better hepatitis C virus treatment responses, and increase graft survival. This study investigated 25(OH)D levels and assessed strategies for vitamin D deficiency prevention in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)–positive patients with advanced liver disease who were enrolled in the Solid Organ Transplantation in HIV: Multi-Site Study. 25(OH)D was measured in banked specimens from 154 LT candidates/recipients with the DiaSorin assay; deficiency was defined as a 25(OH)D level < 20 ng/mL. Information about vitamin D supplement use after LT was obtained from medication logs and via surveys. Logistic regression, Cox regression, and linear repeated measures analyses were performed with SAS software. We found that none of the 17 academic medical centers in the United States routinely recommended vitamin D supplements before LT, and only a minority (4/17) recommended vitamin D supplements to all patients after LT. Seventy-one percent of the 139 patients with pre-LT values had vitamin D deficiency, which was significantly associated with cirrhosis (P = 0.01) but no other variable. The vitamin D status improved modestly after LT; however, the status was deficient for 40% of the patients 1 year after LT. In a multivariate linear repeated measures model, a higher pre-LT 25(OH)D level (P < 0.001), specimen collection in the summer (P < 0.001), a routine vitamin D supplementation strategy after LT (P < 0.001), and the time elapsing since LT (P = 0.01) were significantly associated with increases in the post-LT 25(OH)D level; black race was associated with a decreased level (P = 0.02). In conclusion, the majority of patients awaiting LT were vitamin D deficient, and approximately half were vitamin D deficient after LT. More extensive use of vitamin D supplements, more sun exposure, or both are needed to prevent this deficiency in HIV-positive LT candidates and recipients. Liver Transpl 20:156-164, 2014. © 2013 AASLD.