Rev Endocr Metab Disord. 2021 Apr 13. doi: 10.1007/s11154-021-09655-z. Online ahead of print.
COVID-19 extra-pulmonary features include several endocrine manifestations and these are becoming strongly clinically relevant in patients affected influencing disease severity and outcomes.At the beginning of COVID-19 pandemic no population data on calcium levels in patients affected were available and in April 2020 a first case of severe acute hypocalcemia in an Italian patient with SARS-CoV-2 infection was reported. Subsequently, several studies reported hypocalcemia as a highly prevalent biochemical abnormality in COVID-19 patients with a marked negative influence on disease severity, biochemical inflammation and thrombotic markers, and mortality. Also a high prevalence of vertebral fractures with worse respiratory impairment in patients affected and a widespread vitamin D deficiency have been frequently observed, suggesting an emerging "Osteo-Metabolic Phenotype" in COVID-19.To date, several potential pathophysiological factors have been hypothesized to play a role in determining hypocalcemia in COVID-19 including calcium dependent viral mechanisms of action, high prevalence of hypovitaminosis D in general population, chronic and acute malnutrition during critical illness and high levels of unbound and unsaturated fatty acids in inflammatory responses.Since hypocalcemia is a frequent biochemical finding in hospitalized COVID-19 patients possibly predicting worse outcomes and leading to acute cardiovascular and neurological complications if severe, it is reasonable to assess, monitor and, if indicated, replace calcium at first patient hospital evaluation and during hospitalization.