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I16 Nutritional rickets presenting to secondary care in children (<16 years) – a uk surveillance study
  1. P Julies1,
  2. RM Lynn2,
  3. K Pall2,
  4. M Leoni2,
  5. A Calder3,
  6. Z Mughal4,
  7. N Shaw5,
  8. H McDevitt6,
  9. C MacDonnell7,
  10. M Blair8
  1. 1Royal Free Hospital, London, UK
  2. 2BPSU, London, UK
  3. 3Great Ormond Street Hospital, London, UK
  4. 4Manchester University Hospital, Manchester, UK
  5. 5Birmingham Children’s Hospital, Birmingham, UK
  6. 6University of Glasgow, Glasgow, UK
  7. 7National Children’s Hospital, Tallaght, Republic of Ireland
  8. 8Imperial College, London, UK


Aims Rickets is a disease of growing children with serious short and long-term complications. Although the prevalence of rickets has been reported widely to be increasing the actual national incidence of nutritional rickets (NR) in the United Kingdom (UK) is unknown. This study aims to describe the incidence, presentation, and clinical management of children with NR in the UK and ROI.

Methods Data was collected prospectively monthly between March 2015-March 2017 from 3500 paediatricians using British Paediatric Surveillance Unit reporting methodology with the following definition (table 1):

Abstract I16 Table 1

Results 130 cases met the case definition with an overall annual incidence of 5.04 cases per million children under 16 years.

London, East Midlands, West Midlands and Scotland had estimated incidences above the national incidence. Boys (91/130; 70%) were significantly more affected than girls (39/130; 30%) and the majority were of Black (44.6%) and South Asian (36.2%) ethnicity with a median age of 18 months. The commonest clinical presentations were bowed legs, swollen wrists and radiological rickets. Comorbidities included fractures (15/130; 11.5%) hypocalcaemic seizures (11/130; 8.5%;), and dilated cardiomyopathy (4/130; 3%) Two children died of dilated cardiomyopathy from vitamin D deficiency. The commonest associated conditions were cows milk protein allergy (19/51; 19%; ) iron deficiency (8/51; 7%) and eczema (8/51; 7%) At the time of diagnosis 77% of children were not receiving vitamin D supplements. 19 children had rickets despite being reported to be receiving appropriate supplementation. All confirmed radiological cases had either high parathyroid hormone and/or low phosphate. Following diagnosis, most clinicians initially prescribed treatment themselves, with huge variation in duration of prescriptions. In a further 10 cases, rickets was confirmed but excluded in the incidence analysis, for not meeting the case definition (specifically Vitamin D<25 OHnmol/L), suggesting both dietary calcium deficiency and vitamin D insufficiency as role-players in the presentation of NR in the UK.

Conclusions NR continues to affect children in the UK with serious sequelae. Uptake of vitamin D supplementation remains low and constitutes a failure of current public health policy. A UK national policy focusing on vitamin D and calcium supplementation and adherence is required to eliminate this entirely preventable condition.

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