After adjustments, excess severity risk similar for both diabetes types
The new study data came from electronic health records at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, comprising 137 primary care, urgent care, and hospital facilities where patients were tested for SARS-CoV-2 regardless of the reason for their visit.
Between March 17 and August 7, 2020, 6,451 patients tested positive for COVID-19. Of those, 273 had type 2 diabetes and 40 had type 1 diabetes.
Children younger than 18 years accounted for 20% of those with type 1 diabetes and 9.4% of those without diabetes, but none of the type 2 group. The group with type 2 diabetes was considerably older than the type 1 diabetes and no-diabetes groups, 58 years versus 37 and 33 years, respectively.
Before adjustment for baseline characteristics that differed between groups, patients with type 1 diabetes appeared to have a risk for hospitalization and greater illness severity that was intermediate between the group with no diabetes and the group with type 2 diabetes, the researchers said.
But after adjustment for age, race, sex, hypertension, smoking, and body mass index, people with type 1 diabetes had odds ratios of 3.90 for hospitalization and 3.35 for greater illness severity, which was similar to risk in type 2 diabetes (3.36 and 3.42, respectively), compared to those without diabetes.
Deep dive explores COVID-19 severity risk factors in type 1 diabetes
The investigators then conducted a detailed chart review for 37 of the 40 patients with type 1 diabetes and phone surveys with 15 of them.
The majority (28) had not been hospitalized, and only one was hospitalized for diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) within 14 days of positive SARS-CoV-2 testing.
This contrasts with a report from the T1D Exchange, in which nearly half of 33 patients with type 1 diabetes and COVID-19 had been hospitalized with DKA. The reason for the discrepancy may be that more severe patients would more likely be referred to the T1D Exchange Registry, Dr. Gregory and colleagues hypothesized.
Clinical factors associated with COVID-19 severity (P < .05) in their study included a prior hypertension diagnosis, higher hemoglobin A1c, at least one prior DKA admission in the past year, and not using a continuous glucose monitor (CGM).
Hospitalizations were twice as likely and illness severity nearly twice as great among those with type 1 diabetes who were Black versus White. Just 8% of those with private insurance were hospitalized, compared with 60% of those with public insurance and 67% with no insurance (P = .001).
“Whereas previous reports have indicated proportionally higher rates of hospitalizations from COVID-19 among Black patients and those with public insurance, this study is the first to show a similar finding in the population with type 1 diabetes,” Dr. Gregory and colleagues wrote.
Only 9% of patients using a CGM were hospitalized versus 47% who used blood glucose meters (P < .016). Similarly, hospitalizations occurred in 6% using an insulin pump versus 33% using multiple daily injections (P < .085).
“Our analysis cannot exclude the possibility that greater amounts of diabetes technology use are a surrogate for higher socioeconomic status,” they noted.
This research was supported by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, JDRF, and the Appleby Foundation. The authors have reported no relevant financial relationships.
A version of this article originally appeared on Medscape.com.