Front Endocrinol (Lausanne). 2021 Jul 22;12:696087. doi: 10.3389/fendo.2021.696087. eCollection 2021.
BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVE: Recently, insulin treatment has been found to be associated with increased mortality and other adverse outcomes in patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and diabetes, but the results remain unclear and controversial, therefore, we conducted this meta-analysis.
METHODS: Four databases, namely, PubMed, Web of Science, EMBASE and the Cochrane Library, were used to identify all studies concerning insulin treatment and the adverse effects of COVID-19, including mortality, incidence of severe/critical complications, in-hospital admission and hospitalization time. To assess publication bias, funnel plots, Begg's tests and Egger's tests were used. The odds ratios (ORs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were used to access the effect of insulin therapy on mortality, severe/critical complications and in-hospital admission. The association between insulin treatment and hospitalization time was calculated by the standardized mean difference (SMD) with 95% CIs.
RESULTS: Eighteen articles, involving a total of 12277 patients with COVID-19 and diabetes were included. Insulin treatment was significantly associated with an increased risk of mortality (OR=2.10; 95% CI, 1.51-2.93) and incidence of severe/critical COVID-19 complications (OR=2.56; 95% CI, 1.18-5.55). Moreover, insulin therapy may increase in-hospital admission in patients with COVID-19 and diabetes (OR=1.31; 95% CI, 1.06-1.61). However, there was no significant difference in the hospitalization time according to insulin treatment (SMD=0.21 95% CI, -0.02-0.45).
CONCLUSIONS: Insulin treatment may increase mortality and severe/critical complications in patients with COVID-19 and diabetes, but more large-scale studies are needed to confirm and explore the exact mechanism.