Admission Blood Glucose Level and Its Association With Cardiovascular and Renal Complications in Patients Hospitalized With COVID-19

Tom Norris, Cameron Razieh, Thomas Yates, Francesco Zaccardi, Clare L Gillies, Yogini V Chudasama, Alex Rowlands, Melanie J Davies, Gerry P McCann, Amitava Banerjee, Annemarie B Docherty, Peter J M Openshaw, J Kenneth Baillie, Malcolm G Semple, Claire A Lawson, Kamlesh Khunti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


OBJECTIVE: To investigate the association between admission blood glucose levels and risk of in-hospital cardiovascular and renal complications.

RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS: In this multicenter prospective study of 36,269 adults hospitalized with COVID-19 between 6 February 2020 and 16 March 2021 (N = 143,266), logistic regression models were used to explore associations between admission glucose level (mmol/L and mg/dL) and odds of in-hospital complications, including heart failure, arrhythmia, cardiac ischemia, cardiac arrest, coagulation complications, stroke, and renal injury. Nonlinearity was investigated using restricted cubic splines. Interaction models explored whether associations between glucose levels and complications were modified by clinically relevant factors.

RESULTS: Cardiovascular and renal complications occurred in 10,421 (28.7%) patients; median admission glucose level was 6.7 mmol/L (interquartile range 5.8-8.7) (120.6 mg/dL [104.4-156.6]). While accounting for confounders, for all complications except cardiac ischemia and stroke, there was a nonlinear association between glucose and cardiovascular and renal complications. For example, odds of heart failure, arrhythmia, coagulation complications, and renal injury decreased to a nadir at 6.4 mmol/L (115 mg/dL), 4.9 mmol/L (88.2 mg/dL), 4.7 mmol/L (84.6 mg/dL), and 5.8 mmol/L (104.4 mg/dL), respectively, and increased thereafter until 26.0 mmol/L (468 mg/dL), 50.0 mmol/L (900 mg/dL), 8.5 mmol/L (153 mg/dL), and 32.4 mmol/L (583.2 mg/dL). Compared with 5 mmol/L (90 mg/dL), odds ratios at these glucose levels were 1.28 (95% CI 0.96, 1.69) for heart failure, 2.23 (1.03, 4.81) for arrhythmia, 1.59 (1.36, 1.86) for coagulation complications, and 2.42 (2.01, 2.92) for renal injury. For most complications, a modifying effect of age was observed, with higher odds of complications at higher glucose levels for patients age <69 years. Preexisting diabetes status had a similar modifying effect on odds of complications, but evidence was strongest for renal injury, cardiac ischemia, and any cardiovascular/renal complication.

CONCLUSIONS: Increased odds of cardiovascular or renal complications were observed for admission glucose levels indicative of both hypo- and hyperglycemia. Admission glucose could be used as a marker for risk stratification of high-risk patients. Further research should evaluate interventions to optimize admission glucose on improving COVID-19 outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1132-1140
JournalDiabetes Care
Issue number5
Early online date11 Mar 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2022


  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Blood Glucose
  • COVID-19/complications
  • Heart Failure
  • Humans
  • Ischemia
  • Kidney
  • Prospective Studies
  • Stroke/epidemiology


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