International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (2021-01-01)

Personal and Environmental Risk Factors at Birth and Hospital Admission: Direct and Vitamin D-Mediated Effects on Bronchiolitis Hospitalization in Italian Children

  • Marco Zaffanello,
  • Giuliana Ferrante,
  • Salvatore Fasola,
  • Michele Piazza,
  • Giorgio Piacentini,
  • Stefania La Grutta

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 18, no. 747
p. 747


Read online

Seasonal variations in UV-B radiation may influence vitamin D status, and this, in turn, may influence the risk of bronchiolitis hospitalization. The aim of this study was using a causal inference approach to investigate, simultaneously, the interrelationships between personal and environmental risk factors at birth/hospital admission (RFBH), serum vitamin D levels and bronchiolitis hospitalization. A total of 63 children (<2 years old) hospitalized for bronchiolitis (34 RSV-positive) and 63 controls were consecutively enrolled (2014–2016). Vitamin D levels and some RFBH (birth season, birth weight, gestational age, gender, age, weight, hospitalization season) were recorded. The discovered RFBH effects on the risk ok bronchiolitis hospitalization were decomposed into direct and vitamin-D mediated ones through Mediation Analysis. Winter-spring season (vs. summer-autumn) was significantly associated with lower vitamin D levels (mean difference −11.14 nmol/L). Increasing serum vitamin D levels were significantly associated with a lower risk of bronchiolitis hospitalization (OR = 0.84 for a 10-nmol/L increase). Winter-spring season and gestational age (one-week increase) were significantly and directly associated with bronchiolitis hospitalization (OR = 6.37 and OR = 0.78 respectively), while vitamin D-mediated effects were negligible (1.21 and 1.02 respectively). Using a comprehensive causal approach may enhance the understanding of the complex interrelationships among RFBH, vitamin D and bronchiolitis hospitalization.