By Denise Baez
A study of almost 80,000 adults with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) showed that people with Parkinson’s disease have a 30% higher risk of dying from the virus compared with people without Parkinson’s.
The results, published in Movement Disorders, come from an analysis of the TriNetX COVID-19 research network — a health research database that includes more than 50 million patients, mostly from the United States.
As of July 15, 2020, the database listed 79,048 adults with COVID-19, of whom 694 had Parkinson’s disease. The mortality rate among patients without Parkinson’s disease was 5.5% compared with 21.3% among patients with Parkinson’s disease (P< .001).
Patients without Parkinson’s disease were older (median age, 79 years vs 50 years) and most were male (60.2% vs 44.7%).
In logistic regression, which accounted for age, sex, and race, the risk of dying from COVID-19 was significantly elevated among patients with Parkinson’s disease (odds ratio [OR] = 1.27; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.04-1.53; P = .016).
To assess residual confounders, the researchers matched (for age, sex, and race) 5 patients with COVID-19 but without Parkinson’s disease to each patient with Parkinson’s disease. This analysis found an even higher risk of death among patients with Parkinson’s disease (OR = 1.30; 95% CI, 1.13-1.49; P< .001).
“We further replicated the analysis with 1,000 random matchings, and found similar results, with the effect being statistically significant in all but 2 replications,” wrote Qiang Zhang, MD, University of Iowa Health Care, Iowa City, Iowa, and colleagues.
The researchers acknowledged the limitations of their study, including confounding regional factors that could increase mortality and the fact that the TriNetX database does not include information on comorbidities or recovery.
“Despite these limitations, our results indicate that it will be critical to develop effective strategies whereby healthcare providers can prevent the transmission of COVID-19 while providing neurological care to patients with Parkinson’s disease,” the authors wrote.