Patients With Parkinson Disease Hospitalized With COVID-19 May Have Higher Mortality

Female doctor in protective suit consoling senior patient. Elderly man with oxygen mask is lying on bed in intensive care unit during COVID-19 crisis. They are in hospital ward.
Researchers assessed the features of Parkinson disease (PD) pathophysiology that may increase the risk for COVID-19 mortality among hospitalized patients with PD.

The following article is part of conference coverage from the International Congress of Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders (MDS) Virtual Annual Meeting. Neurology Advisor’s staff will be reporting breaking news associated with research conducted by leading experts in neurology. Check back for the latest news from the MDS 2021 Virtual Annual Meeting.


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

Due to the nature of the disease or the associated underlying conditions, patients with PD may have a higher risk for COVID-19-related death compared with the general population. However, there are no clear data explaining the difference in COVID-19 mortality between these populations; the authors of the current study hypothesized that advanced age and hypertension may play a role.

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

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

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

Among patients with PD, multivariate analyses indicated no significant differences between patients who did and did not die from a COVID-19, on the basis of sex, hypertension, duration of hospitalization, 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 findings were based on a small number of patients with PD, and according to the researchers, the data should be validated among an independent cohort.

The study authors observed a higher mortality rate among patients with PD who were hospitalized with COVID-19. Although patients with PD tend to be of advanced age and present with additional underlying conditions, such as hypertension, it remains unclear which features of the PD pathophysiology may be causing the increased SARS-CoV-2-associated mortality. Additional studies of COVID-19 mortality among patients with PD are needed.

“PD pathophysiology, advanced age, and underlying conditions, including AD, may play an essential role in such an outcome,” the researchers concluded.


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