Yan Xie, Ziyad Al-Aly: Risks and burdens of incident diabetes in long COVID: a cohort study, in: The Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology Vol. 10, Issue 5 (May 2022), pp. 311-321, online in: https://doi.org/10.1016/S2213-8587(22)00044-4.
There is growing evidence suggesting that beyond the acute phase of SARS-CoV-2 infection, people with COVID-19 could experience a wide range of post-acute sequelae, including diabetes. However, the risks and burdens of diabetes in the post-acute phase of the disease have not yet been comprehensively characterised. To address this knowledge gap, the authors aimed to examine the post-acute risk and burden of incident diabetes in people who survived the first 30 days of SARS-CoV-2 infection.
In this cohort study, the authors used the national databases of the US Department of Veterans Affairs to build a cohort of 181,280 participants who had a positive COVID-19 test between March 1, 2020, and Sept 30, 2021, and survived the first 30 days of COVID-19; a contemporary control (n=4,118,441) that enrolled participants between March 1, 2020, and Sept 30, 2021; and a historical control (n=4,286,911) that enrolled participants between March 1, 2018, and Sept 30, 2019. Both control groups had no evidence of SARS-CoV-2 infection. Participants in all three comparison groups were free of diabetes before cohort entry and were followed up for a median of 352 days (IQR 245–406). The authors used inverse probability weighted survival analyses, including predefined and algorithmically selected high dimensional variables, to estimate post-acute COVID-19 risks of incident diabetes, antihyperglycaemic use, and a composite of the two outcomes. The authors reported two measures of risk: hazard ratio (HR) and burden per 1,000 people at 12 months.
In the post-acute phase of the disease, compared with the contemporary control group, people with COVID-19 exhibited an increased risk (HR 1,40, 95% CI 1,36–1,44) and excess burden (13.46, 95% CI 12.11–14.84, per 1,000 people at 12 months) of incident diabetes; and an increased risk (1.85, 1.78–1.92) and excess burden (12.35, 11.36–13.38) of incident antihyperglycaemic use. Additionally, analyses to estimate the risk of a composite endpoint of incident diabetes or antihyperglycaemic use yielded a HR of 1.46 (95% CI 1.43–1.50) and an excess burden of 18.03 (95% CI 16.59–19.51) per 1,000 people at 12 months. Risks and burdens of post-acute outcomes increased in a graded fashion according to the severity of the acute phase of COVID-19 (whether patients were non-hospitalised, hospitalised, or admitted to intensive care). All the results were consistent in analyses using the historical control as the reference category.
In the post-acute phase, the authors report increased risks and 12-month burdens of incident diabetes and antihyperglycaemic use in people with COVID-19 compared with a contemporary control group of people who were enrolled during the same period and had not contracted SARS-CoV-2, and a historical control group from a pre-pandemic era. Post-acute COVID-19 care should involve identification and management of diabetes.
US Department of Veterans Affairs and the American Society of Nephrology.