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Vitamin A, E, and D deficiencies in Tunisian very low birth weight neonates: prevalence and risk factors.

Fares S, Sethom MM, Khouaja-Mokrani C, Jabnoun S, Feki M, Kaabachi N. (2014) Pediatr Neonatol.  55(3) 196-201. Epub 2013 Nov 26. 



Preterm neonates are at high risk of vitamin deficiencies, which may expose them to increased morbidity and mortality. This study aimed to determine the prevalence and risk factors for vitamin A, E, and D deficiencies in Tunisian very low birth weight (VLBW) neonates.


A total of 607 VLBW and 300 term neonates were included in the study. Plasma vitamins A and E were assessed by high performance liquid chromatography and vitamin D was assessed by radioimmunoassay.


Prevalence of vitamin A, E, and D deficiencies were dramatically elevated in VLBW neonates and were significantly higher than term neonates (75.9% vs. 63.3%; 71.3% vs. 55.5%; and 65.2% vs. 40.4%, respectively). In VLBW neonates, the prevalence of vitamin deficiencies was significantly higher in lower classes of gestational age and birth weight. Vitamin E deficiency was associated with pre-eclampsia [odds ratio (OR) (95% confidence interval, 95% CI), 1.56 (1.01-2.44); p < 0.01] and gestational diabetes [4.01 (1.05-17.0); p < 0.01]. Vitamin D deficiency was associated with twin pregnancy [OR (95% CI), 2.66 (1.33-5.35); p < 0.01] and pre-eclampsia [2.89 (1.36-6.40); p < 0.01].


Vitamin A, E, and D deficiencies are very common in Tunisian VLBW neonates and are associated with pre-eclampsia. Improved nutritional and health support for pregnant women and high dose vitamins A, E, and D supplementation in VLBW neonates are strongly required in Tunisia.

Copyright © 2013. Published by Elsevier B.V.


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