Impact of Diabetes on COVID-19 mortality and hospital outcomes from a global perspective: An umbrella systematic review and meta-analysis.

Kastora Stavroula, Manisha Patel, Ben Carter, Mirela Delibegovic, Phyo K Myint

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


To date, COVID-19 has claimed 4.9 million lives. Diabetes has been identified as an independent risk factor of serious outcomes in people with COVID-19 infection. Whether that holds true across world regions uniformly has not been previously assessed.

Research Design and Methods
This study offers the first umbrella systematic review and meta-analysis to analyse the collective and geographically stratified mortality, ICU admission, ventilation requirement, illness severity and discharge rate among patients with diabetes. Five databases (EMBASE, MEDLINE, CAB Abstracts, PsychInfo, and Web of Science) and 3 additional sources (SSRN´s eLibrary, Research Square and MedRxiv) were searched from inception to 30th of August 2021. Prospective and retrospective cohort studies, reporting the association between diabetes and one or more COVID-19 hospitalization outcomes, were included. This meta-analysis was registered on PROSPERO, CRD42021278579. Abbreviated MeSH terms used for search were: (Diabetes) AND (2019 Novel Coronavirus Disease), adapted per database requirements. Exclusion criteria exclusion criteria were 1) none of the primary or secondary outcomes of meta-analysis reported, 2) no confirmed COVID-19 infection (laboratory or clinical), 3) no unexposed population (solely patients with diabetes included). Quality of the included studies were assessed using the Newcastle-Ottawa Scale (NOS) while quality of evidence by the GRADE framework. Studies that were clinically homogeneous were pooled. Summative data and heterogeneity were generated by the Cochrane platform RevMan (V. 5.4).

Overall, 158 observational studies were included, with a total of 270212 of participants, median age 59 [53-65 IQR] of who 56.5 % were male. A total of 22 studies originated from EU, 90 from Far East, 16 from Middle East, and 30 from America. Data were synthesised with mixed heterogeneity across outcomes. Pooled results highlighted those patients with diabetes were at a higher risk of COVID-19-related mortality, OR 1.87 [95%CI 1.61, 2.17]. ICU admissions increased across all studies for patients with diabetes, OR 1.59 [95%CI 1.15, 2.18], a result that was mainly skewed by Far East-originating studies, OR 1.94 [95%CI 1.51, 2.49]. Ventilation requirements were also increased amongst patients with diabetes worldwide, OR 1.44 [95%CI 1.20, 1.73] as well as their presentation with severe or critical condition, OR 2.88 [95%CI 2.29,
3.63]. HbA1C levels under < 70 mmol and metformin use constituted protective factors in view of COVID-19 mortality, while the inverse was true for concurrent insulin use.

Whilst diabetes constitutes a poor prognosticator for various COVID-19 infection outcomes, variability across world regions is significant and may skew overall trends.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEndocrinology, Diabetes & Metabolism
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 28 Mar 2022


  • Diabetes
  • COVID-19
  • Mortality
  • intensive care
  • Ventilation
  • Disease severity
  • Discharge


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