February 5, 2021

Wayne-led analysis shows common syndrome may indicate clinical outcomes of COVID-19

A study published in the Journal of Diabetes showed that Metabolic Syndrome is a better prognostic indicator for severe disease outcomes in COVID-19 patients than its individual components.

Wayne State University School of Medicine Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine Prateek Lohia, M.D., is the clinician-educator who led the research study.

Prateek Lohia, M.D.

Metabolic Syndrome is a cluster of conditions that occur together, increasing the risk of heart disease, stroke and Type 2 diabetes. Conditions include increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist and abnormal cholesterol or triglyceride levels.

“Patients with Metabolic Syndrome had significantly higher mortality, increased intensive care admissions and the need for mechanical ventilation compared to the patients without Metabolic Syndrome,” he said.

As a WSU clinician-educator, Dr. Lohia works with Internal Medicine residents and third- and fourth-year medical students and see patients at Detroit Receiving Hospital, Harper and Hutzel Hospital, and the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute.

“Detroit was one of the early epicenters of the coronavirus pandemic. Seeing the patients with COVID-19 every day and not having answers to most of the clinical questions, I wanted to contribute my bit toward finding answers to the numerous mysteries surrounding this virus and its varying clinical presentation in the patients,” he said. “Our patient population consists of a majority of African American patients, who unfortunately have worse outcomes with COVID-19, making it more relevant to study this population to address health inequity and racial disparities associated with COVID-19.”

“Metabolic Syndrome and clinical outcomes in patients infected with COVID-19: Does age, sex and race of the patient with Metabolic Syndrome matter?” was published in the Jan. 16 issue of the Journal of Diabetes.

The retrospective multi-hospital cohort study of 1,871 patients aimed to determine the association between Metabolic Syndrome and severe disease outcomes in COVID-19.

“We were expecting that Metabolic Syndrome would be associated with increased mortality and worse clinical outcomes in COVID-19. However, we were not sure if it would be a better prognostic indicator for the clinical outcomes than its individual components,” he said.

The co-authors for the study are Research Associate Shweta Kapur, M.S.; Internal Medicine resident Sindhuri Benjaram, M.D.; Endocrinology Fellow Abhilasha Pandey, M.D., Internal Medicine resident Tanveer Mir, M.D.; and Associate Professor in the Division of Endocrinology Berhane Seyoum, M.D.

Another research team also led by Dr. Lohia recently published a study debunking any link between Vitamin D deficiency and clinical outcomes of COVID-19.

The team is now working on multiple COVID-19 studies, one involving patients with preexisting respiratory diseases and another exploring the effect of statins on patients with COVID-19.

“Additionally, we are currently working on a study looking at the clinical outcomes and characteristics of COVID-19 patients who developed cardiac arrest in the hospital,” Dr. Lohia said.