Introduction: Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is associated with high rates of morbidity and mortality. Primary hypothyroidism is a common comorbid condition, but little is known about its association with COVID-19 severity and outcomes. This study aims to identify the frequency of hypothyroidism in hospitalized patients with COVID-19 as well as describe the differences in outcomes between patients with and without pre-existing hypothyroidism using an observational, multinational registry. Methods: In an observational cohort study we enrolled patients 18 years or older, with laboratory-confirmed severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 infection between March 2020 and February 2021. The primary outcomes were (1) the disease severity defined as per the World Health Organization Scale for Clinical Improvement, which is an ordinal outcome corresponding with the highest severity level recorded during a patient's index COVID-19 hospitalization, (2) in-hospital mortality and (3) hospital-free days. Secondary outcomes were the rate of intensive care unit (ICU) admission and ICU mortality. Results: Among the 20,366 adult patients included in the study, pre-existing hypothyroidism was identified in 1616 (7.9%). The median age for the Hypothyroidism group was 70 (interquartile range: 59–80) years, and 65% were female and 67% were White. The most common comorbidities were hypertension (68%), diabetes (42%), dyslipidemia (37%) and obesity (28%). After adjusting for age, body mass index, sex, admission date in the quarter year since March 2020, race, smoking history and other comorbid conditions (coronary artery disease, hypertension, diabetes and dyslipidemia), pre-existing hypothyroidism was not associated with higher odds of severe disease using the World Health Organization disease severity index (odds ratio [OR]: 1.02; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.92, 1.13; p =.69), in-hospital mortality (OR: 1.03; 95% CI: 0.92, 1.15; p =.58) or differences in hospital-free days (estimated difference 0.01 days; 95% CI: −0.45, 0.47; p =.97). Pre-existing hypothyroidism was not associated with ICU admission or ICU mortality in unadjusted as well as in adjusted analysis. Conclusions: In an international registry, hypothyroidism was identified in around 1 of every 12 adult hospitalized patients with COVID-19. Pre-existing hypothyroidism in hospitalized patients with COVID-19 was not associated with higher disease severity or increased risk of mortality or ICU admissions. However, more research on the possible effects of COVID-19 on the thyroid gland and its function is needed in the future.
- COVID-19 disease severity
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism