Hypothyroidism Does Not Increase Risk for Poor Outcomes Linked to COVID-19

3d illustration of the thyroid gland and pituitary gland part of the endocrine system
Researchers assessed outcomes such as hospitalization, need for mechanical ventilation, and survival in a cohort of patients with hypothyroidism and COVID-19.

Patients with hypothyroidism who develop coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) do not appear to be at an increased risk for hospitalization, mechanical ventilation, or death, study results in Frontiers in Endocrinology suggest.

This retrospective study included a total of 3703 patients with laboratory-diagnosed COVID-19 from a large New York City health system between March and April. Approximately 6.8% (n=251) of patients had preexisting hypothyroidism and were receiving thyroid hormone therapy.

Investigators evaluated rates of hospitalization, mechanical ventilation, and survival in these patients and compared them with corresponding rates in patients without hypothyroidism. They adjusted analyses for age, sex, race, body mass index, smoking status, and number of comorbidities.

Patients with hypothyroidism did not have an increased risk for hospitalization in the adjusted analysis (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] 1.23; 95% CI, 0.88-1.7) or the propensity-matched analysis (odds ratio [OR] 0.76; 95% CI, 0.58-1). In addition, patients with hypothyroidism did not have an increased risk for mechanical ventilation (aOR 1.17; 95% CI, 0.81-1.69) or death (aOR 1.07; 95% CI, 0.75-1.54) in the adjusted analysis. The propensity-matched analysis also found no effect of hypothyroidism on increasing the risk for mechanical ventilation (OR 0.85; 95% CI, 0.58-1.25) or death (OR 1.04; 95% CI, 0.71-1.52).

Limitations of this study are the inclusion of only patients within the New York City metropolitan area as well as the lack of mortality data for patients who remained hospitalized at time of data collection.

The investigators concluded that hypothyroidism does not appear to be a risk factor for worse outcomes in patients with COVID-19, and “therefore no additional precautions or consultations are needed” for these patients. The investigators added, however, that additional research on how COVID-19 can affect thyroid gland and function may be needed.


van Gerwen M, Alsen M, Little C, et al. Outcomes of patients with hypothyroidism and COVID-19: a retrospective cohort study. Front Endocrinol (Lausanne). 2020;11:565.