Association between Endocrine Disorders and Severe COVID-19 Disease in Pediatric Patients

Horm Res Paediatr. 2022;95(4):331-338. doi: 10.1159/000524595. Epub 2022 Apr 13.


Introduction: Though severe illness due to COVID-19 is uncommon in children, there is an urgent need to better determine the risk factors for disease severity in youth. This study aims to determine the impact a preexisting endocrine diagnosis has on severity of COVID-19 presentation in youth.

Methods: The cross-sectional chart review study included all patients less than 25 years old with a positive SARS-CoV-2 PCR at St. Louis Children's Hospital between March 2020 and February 2021. Electronic medical record data for analysis included patient demographics, BMI percentile, inpatient hospitalization or admission to the pediatric intensive care unit (PICU), and the presence of a preexisting endocrine diagnosis such as diabetes mellitus (type 1 and type 2), adrenal insufficiency, and hypothyroidism. Two outcome measures were analyzed in multivariate analysis: inpatient admission and PICU admission. Adjusted odds ratios with a 95% CI were calculated using binary logistic regression, along with p values after Wald χ2 analysis.

Results: 390 patients were included in the study. Mean age was 123.1 (±82.2) months old. 50.3% of patients were hospitalized, and 12.1% of patients were admitted to intensive care. Preexisting diagnoses of diabetes mellitus, obesity, and hypothyroidism were associated with an increased risk of hospital and ICU admission, independent of socioeconomic status.

Discussion/conclusion: This study provides evidence that unvaccinated youth with a preexisting diagnosis of obesity, hypothyroidism, or diabetes mellitus infected with COVID-19 are more likely to have a more severe clinical presentation requiring inpatient hospital admission and/or intensive care.

Keywords: Adrenal insufficiency; COVID-19; Diabetes; Hypothyroidism; Obesity.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • COVID-19* / epidemiology
  • Child
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1*
  • Hospitalization
  • Humans
  • Hypothyroidism*
  • Obesity
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • SARS-CoV-2