Parkinson’s disease patients who are hospitalized with COVID-19 may have higher mortality rates

The following article is part of the conference coverage of the virtual annual meeting of the International Congress on Parkinson’s and Movement Disorders (MDS). Neurology Advisor staff will share the latest news related to research from leading neurology experts. Look back for the latest news from the MDS 2021 Annual Virtual Meeting.

Compared to the general patient population with SARS-CoV-2, patients with Parkinson’s disease (PD) may have an increased risk of COVID-19-associated mortality, according to those presented at the International Congress of Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders Society (MDS) Study results) Virtual Congress 2021 from September 17th to 22nd, 2021.

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Due to the nature of the illness or the underlying medical conditions associated with it, patients with PD may be at a higher risk of COVID-19-related death compared to the general population. However, there is no clear data to explain the difference in COVID-19 mortality between these populations; the authors of the current study hypothesized that advanced age and high blood pressure could play a role.

Researchers analyzed data from patients (N = 12,909) with SARS-CoV-2 who had been treated at Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences or Isfahan University of Medical Sciences in Iran for the past 11 months. The death rates from COVID-19 were assessed based on PD status.

A total of 87 patients with COVID-19 had pre-existing PD. Mortality from COVID-19 was significantly higher in patients with PD (35.6%; n = 31) compared to the general population (19.8%; n = 2132; P <.01).

In the PD cohort, patients who died from COVID-19 infection were more likely to be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease (P.) <.01). Survival from a COVID-19 infection among patients with PD did not depend on age (P >.05).

In patients with PD, multivariate analyzes showed no significant differences between patients who and did not die of COVID-19 based on gender, hypertension, length of hospital stay, and oxygen saturation.

The study was limited by the lack of comparisons of clinical features between patients with PD and the general population. In general, these results were based on a small number of patients with PD, and the researchers said the data should be validated in an independent cohort.

The study authors observed a higher mortality rate in patients with PD who were hospitalized with COVID-19. Although patients with PD are usually of an advanced age and have additional underlying conditions such as high blood pressure, it remains unclear which features of PD pathophysiology can cause the increased SARS-CoV-2-associated mortality. Additional studies on COVID-19 mortality in patients with PD are needed.

“Parkinson’s pathophysiology, advanced age, and underlying diseases, including AD, may play a major role in such an outcome,” the researchers concluded.


Salari M, Etemadifar M, Fateh ST, Aminzade Z. Patients with Parkinson’s disease may have a higher risk of mortality from Covid-19. Presented at: MDS Virtual Congress 2021; 17.-22. September 2021. Poster 654.

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