Purpose Older adults are more likely to be vitamin D deficient. The aim of the study was to determine whether these patients have worse outcomes with COVID-19.
Methods We conducted a prospective cohort study between 1 March and 30 April 2020 to assess the importance of vitamin D deficiency in older patients with COVID-19. The cohort consisted of patients aged ≥65 years presenting with symptoms consistent with COVID-19 (n=105). All patients were tested for serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) levels during acute illness. Diagnosis of COVID-19 was confirmed via viral reverse transcriptase PCR swab or supporting radiological evidence. COVID-19-positive arm (n=70) was sub-divided into vitamin D-deficient (≤30 nmol/L) (n=39) and -replete groups (n=35). Subgroups were assessed for disease severity using biochemical, radiological and clinical markers. Primary outcome was in-hospital mortality. Secondary outcomes were laboratory features of cytokine storm, thoracic imaging changes and requirement of non-invasive ventilation (NIV).
Results COVID-19-positive arm demonstrated lower median serum 25(OH)D level of 27 nmol/L (IQR=20–47 nmol/L) compared with COVID-19-negative arm, with median level of 52 nmol/L (IQR=31.5–71.5 nmol/L) (p value=0.0008). Among patients with vitamin D deficiency, there was higher peak D-dimer level (1914.00 μgFEU/L vs 1268.00 μgFEU/L) (p=0.034) and higher incidence of NIV support and high dependency unit admission (30.77% vs 9.68%) (p=0.042). No increased mortality was observed between groups.
Conclusion Older adults with vitamin D deficiency and COVID-19 may demonstrate worse morbidity outcomes. Vitamin D status may be a useful prognosticator.
- General medicine (see internal medicine)
- geriatric medicine
- diabetes & endocrinology
- calcium & bone
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Contributors All authors contributed to the manuscript. All were involved in the design of the study. VB, PK and NP collected the data. VB and TH were responsible for the statistical analysis. VB, TH, AKJM, KVdA, SS and CGM wrote the manuscript and all authors were involved in the final approval of the manuscript.
Funding This research received no specific grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.
Competing interests All authors understand the policy of declaration of interests. CGM is a former member of the Fellowship of Postgraduate Medicine (FPM) council and is currently an FPM Fellow. VB, TH, NP, SS, PK, KVdA, AKJM all declare that they have no competing interests.
Patient consent for publication Not required.
Ethics approval As an audit using clinically collected, non-identifiable data, this work does not fall under the remit of National Health Service Research Ethics Committees. This statement is also present in the ‘Methods and material’ section of our manuscript.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
Data availability statement Data are available upon reasonable request.