Vitamin D deficiency, secondary hyperparathyroidism and respiratory insufficiency in hospitalized patients with COVID-19

J Endocrinol Invest. 2021 Oct;44(10):2285-2293. doi: 10.1007/s40618-021-01535-2. Epub 2021 Mar 5.


Purpose: Hypovitaminosis D has emerged as potential risk factor for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection in the general population with variable effects on the outcome of the coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19). The aim of this retrospective single-center study was to investigate the impact of hypovitaminosis D and secondary hyperparathyroidism on respiratory outcomes of COVID-19.

Methods: Three-hundred-forty-eight consecutive patients hospitalized for COVID-19 at the IRCCS Humanitas Research Hospital, Rozzano, Milan (Italy) were evaluated for arterial partial pressure oxygen (PaO2)/fraction of inspired oxygen (FiO2) ratio, serum 25hydroxy-vitamin D [25(OH)D], parathyroid hormone (PTH) and inflammatory parameters at study entry and need of ventilation during the hospital stay.

Results: In the entire population, vitamin D deficiency (i.e., 25(OH)D values < 12 ng/mL) was significantly associated with acute hypoxemic respiratory failure at the study entry [adjusted odds ratio (OR) 2.48, 95% confidence interval 1.29-4.74; P = 0.006], independently of age and sex of subjects, serum calcium and inflammatory parameters. In patients evaluated for serum PTH (97 cases), secondary hyperparathyroidism combined with vitamin D deficiency was significantly associated with acute hypoxemic respiratory failure at study entry (P = 0.001) and need of ventilation during the hospital stay (P = 0.031).

Conclusion: This study provides evidence that vitamin D deficiency, when associated with secondary hyperparathyroidism, may negatively impact the clinical outcome of SARS-CoV-2-related pneumonia.

Keywords: COVID-19; Hyperparathyroidism; PTH; Pneumonia; SARS-CoV-2 infection; Vitamin D; Vitamin D deficiency.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • COVID-19 / blood
  • COVID-19 / complications*
  • COVID-19 / therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hyperparathyroidism / blood
  • Hyperparathyroidism / complications*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Respiratory Insufficiency / blood
  • Respiratory Insufficiency / complications*
  • Respiratory Insufficiency / therapy
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / blood
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / complications*