The impact of pre-existing thyroid diseases on susceptibility to respiratory infections or self-reported sickness during the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic

Maartje A.J. Rops, Simone J.C.F.M. Moorlag, Rosanne C. van Deuren, Martin Jaeger, Leo A.B. Joosten, Marco Medici, Mihai G. Netea, Jan W.A. Smit, Romana T. Netea-Maier*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Abstract

Introduction: This study aimed to evaluate the incidence, severity and presence of symptoms of respiratory tract infections and COVID-19, in patients with pre-existing thyroid dysfunction compared to individuals without thyroid diseases, during the peak month of the COVID-19 pandemic in the Netherlands. Subjects and methods: In this retrospective observational cohort study, all patients currently under follow-up at the Radboud UMC for thyroid dysfunction received a digital questionnaire. Primary outcomes were incidence of self-reported sickness and cases diagnosed with COVID-19. We compared these primary outcomes between these patients and individuals without thyroid diseases that received the same questionnaire, recruited from the Human Functional Genomics Cohort at the Radboud UMC. Results: In total, 238 patients with pre-existing thyroid dysfunction and 161 controls were included. Patients did not report more sickness (30.7% vs. 29.2%; p = 0.752) or microbiologically confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infections (1.7% vs. 0.6%; p = 0.351). COVID-19 clinical diagnosis was more frequently made in patients with thyroid diseases (4.2% vs. 0.6%; p = 0.032), despite overall lower incidence of self-reported respiratory related symptoms (52.8% vs. 63.8%; p = 0.028), compared to controls. Sub-group analysis between patients with autoimmune and not-autoimmune thyroid dysfunction did not reveal significant associations with respect to any of the outcome measures. Conclusion: This retrospective survey of a cohort of patients with from a tertiary academic hospital suggests that pre-existing thyroid dysfunction, independent from the aetiology, does not lead to an apparent risk to develop respiratory tract infections and COVID-19 related symptoms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)472-480
Number of pages9
JournalArchives of endocrinology and metabolism
Volume66
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2022

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