Background: Hyperglycaemia has emerged as an important risk factor for death in coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The aim of this study was to evaluate the association between blood glucose (BG) levels and in-hospital mortality in non-critically patients hospitalized with COVID-19.
Methods: This is a retrospective multi-centre study involving patients hospitalized in Spain. Patients were categorized into three groups according to admission BG levels: <140 mg/dL, 140-180 mg/dL and >180 mg/dL. The primary endpoint was all-cause in-hospital mortality.
Results: Of the 11,312 patients, only 2128 (18.9%) had diabetes and 2289 (20.4%) died during hospitalization. The in-hospital mortality rates were 15.7% (<140 mg/dL), 33.7% (140-180 mg) and 41.1% (>180 mg/dL), p<.001. The cumulative probability of mortality was significantly higher in patients with hyperglycaemia compared to patients with normoglycaemia (log rank, p<.001), independently of pre-existing diabetes. Hyperglycaemia (after adjusting for age, diabetes, hypertension and other confounding factors) was an independent risk factor of mortality (BG >180 mg/dL: HR 1.50; 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.31-1.73) (BG 140-180 mg/dL; HR 1.48; 95%CI: 1.29-1.70). Hyperglycaemia was also associated with requirement for mechanical ventilation, intensive care unit (ICU) admission and mortality.
Conclusions: Admission hyperglycaemia is a strong predictor of all-cause mortality in non-critically hospitalized COVID-19 patients regardless of prior history of diabetes. KEY MESSAGE Admission hyperglycaemia is a stronger and independent risk factor for mortality in COVID-19. Screening for hyperglycaemia, in patients without diabetes, and early treatment of hyperglycaemia should be mandatory in the management of patients hospitalized with COVID-19. Admission hyperglycaemia should not be overlooked in all patients regardless prior history of diabetes.
Keywords: COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; diabetes; hyperglycaemia; mortality.