People with Parkinson's disease have a higher risk of dying from COVID-19

October 01, 2020

A new study of approximately 80,000 patients shows that people with Parkinson's disease (PD) have a 30% higher risk of dying from COVID-19 than people without the neurodegenerative condition.

The new analysis conducted by researchers with University of Iowa Health Care based on patient data in the TriNetX COVID-19 research network suggests that Parkinson's disease is an independent risk factor for dying from COVID-19.

The UI research team led by neurologists Qiang Zhang, MD, and Nandakumar Narayanan, MD, PhD, identified the COVID-19 patient cohort as of July 15 and analyzed the mortality data eight weeks later. They found that 5.5% (4,290 out of 78,355) of COVID-19 patients without PD died compared to 21.3% (148 of 694) COVID-19 patients who also had PD.

However, the patients with PD were generally older, more likely to be male, and less likely to be African American than the patients without PD. All of these factors also increase the risk of death from COVID-19.

So, the UI team used two approaches to account for these differences: logistic regression with age, sex, and race as covariates, and matching each PD patient with five non-PD patients with the exact age, sex, and race, and performing a conditional logistic regression. In both cases, the researchers found that the risk of dying from COVID-19 was 30% higher for patients with PD. The findings are published in the journal Movement Disorders.

"We recognize the limitations of this study; it is retrospective data from a single database, but we are confident that these data show that Parkinson's disease is independent risk factor for death in COVID-19," says Narayanan, UI associate professor of neurology and a member of the Iowa Neuroscience Institute. "We believe this observation will be of interest to clinicians treating patients with Parkinson's disease, and public health officials."

The researchers say the findings should also inform patients with PD, and their physicians, of the increased importance of preventing COVID-19 infection in these patients.

"For our own patients, we can give advice that it's important that you wear a mask. It's important that you socially distance," says Zhang, an associate in the UI Department of Neurology.

Zhang adds that physicians should also weigh the increased risk of death from COVID-19 when considering how to care for PD patients in person during the pandemic.

A potential reason why PD patients have an increased risk of death from COVID-19 may be related to the fact that COVID can cause pneumonia and pneumonia is a leading cause of death in patients with PD. This is partly because Parkinson's patients can have trouble swallowing or choking that can cause aspiration.

"We are all focused on COVID right now, but this is a clear example of a respiratory illness that leads to increased mortality [in PD patients]. These findings may also have implications for understanding risks for PD patients from other diseases, including influenza," Narayanan says. "I would recommend a flu vaccine and pneumonia vaccine to try to prevent these problems in patients with PD."
-end-
In addition to Narayanan and Zhang, the UI research team included Jordan Schultz, PharmD, Georgina Aldridge, MD, PhD, and Jacob Simmering, PhD.

University of Iowa Health Care

Related Pneumonia Articles from Brightsurf:

Vaccine proves effective against the most severe type of pneumonia
A pneumococcal vaccine was effective at protecting children in Laos against the most severe type of pneumonia, a new study has found.

Osteoporosis treatment may also protect against pneumonia
A recent study published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research found that nitrogen-containing bisphosphonates (N-BPs) such as alendronate, which are widely used to treat postmenopausal osteoporosis, are linked with lower risks of pneumonia and of dying from pneumonia.

Elderly patients with pneumonia twice as likely to die as those with broken hips, yet underestimate the danger of pneumonia
Elderly patients who are hospitalised with pneumonia are twice as likely to die as those hospitalised with hip fractures -- yet many elderly people fail to accurately assess their risk of pneumonia, concludes research due to be presented at the European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (ECCMID).

Pneumonia recovery reprograms immune cells of the lung
Researchers have determined that after lungs recover from infection, alveolar macrophages (immune cells that live in the lungs and help protect the lungs against infection) are different in multiple ways and those differences persist indefinitely.

Skin and mucous membrane lesions as complication of pneumonia
Painful inflammatory lesions of the skin and mucous membranes may occur in children who develop bacterial pneumonia.

Vaccine reduces likelihood of severe pneumonia
A new study has found severe pneumonia decreases by 35 per cent in children who receive a vaccine against a pneumonia-causing bacteria.

Bacteria in pneumonia attack using bleaching agent
Research shows that bacteria use hydrogen peroxide to weaken the immune system and cause pneumonia.

Many kids with pneumonia get unnecessary antibiotics, chest X-rays
Preschool children with community-acquired pneumonia often receive unnecessary tests and treatment at outpatient clinics and emergency departments, according to a nationally representative study led by Todd Florin, M.D., MSCE, from Ann & Robert H.

Certain psychiatric drugs linked with elevated pneumonia risk
A review of published studies indicates that use of benzodiazepines and benzodiazepine related drugs (BZRDs), which are prescribed to treat various psychiatric diseases, may increase the risk of pneumonia.

Bacterial pneumonia far more dangerous to the heart than viral pneumonia, study finds
Heart complications in patients diagnosed with bacterial pneumonia are more serious than in patients diagnosed with viral pneumonia, according to new research.

Read More: Pneumonia News and Pneumonia Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.