Risk for newly diagnosed diabetes after COVID-19: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Ting Zhang, Qimin Mei, Zhaocai Zhang, Joseph Harold Walline, Yecheng Liu, Huadong Zhu, Shuyang Zhang

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47 Scopus citations


Background: There is growing evidence that patients recovering after a severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection may have a variety of acute sequelae including newly diagnosed diabetes. However, the risk of diabetes in the post-acute phase is unclear. To solve this question, we aimed to determine if there was any association between status post-coronavirus disease (COVID-19) infection and a new diagnosis of diabetes. Methods: We performed a systematic review and meta-analysis of cohort studies assessing new-onset diabetes after COVID-19. PubMed, Embase, Web of Science, and Cochrane databases were all searched from inception to June 10, 2022. Three evaluators independently extracted individual study data and assessed the risk of bias. Random-effects models estimated the pooled incidence and relative risk (RR) of diabetes compared to non-COVID-19 after COVID-19. Results: Nine studies with nearly 40 million participants were included. Overall, the incidence of diabetes after COVID-19 was 15.53 (7.91–25.64) per 1000 person-years, and the relative risk of diabetes after COVID-19 infection was elevated (RR 1.62 [1.45–1.80]). The relative risk of type 1 diabetes was RR=1.48 (1.26–1.75) and type 2 diabetes was RR=1.70 (1.32–2.19), compared to non-COVID-19 patients. At all ages, there was a statistically significant positive association between infection with COVID-19 and the risk of diabetes: <18 years: RR=1.72 (1.19–2.49), ≥18 years: RR=1.63 (1.26–2.11), and >65 years: RR=1.68 (1.22–2.30). The relative risk of diabetes in different gender groups was about 2 (males: RR=2.08 [1.27–3.40]; females: RR=1.99 [1.47–2.80]). The risk of diabetes increased 1.17-fold (1.02–1.34) after COVID-19 infection compared to patients with general upper respiratory tract infections. Patients with severe COVID-19 were at higher risk (RR=1.67 [1.25–2.23]) of diabetes after COVID-19. The risk (RR=1.95 [1.85–2.06]) of diabetes was highest in the first 3 months after COVID-19. These results remained after taking confounding factors into account. Conclusions: After COVID-19, patients of all ages and genders had an elevated incidence and relative risk for a new diagnosis of diabetes. Particular attention should be paid during the first 3 months of follow-up after COVID-19 for new-onset diabetes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number444
JournalBMC Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Medicine


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