Mortality in Hemodialysis Patients with COVID-19, the Effect of Paricalcitol or Calcimimetics.
BACKGROUND In COVID-19 patients, low serum vitamin D (VD) levels have been associated with severe acute respiratory failure and poor prognosis. In regular hemodialysis (HD) patients, there is VD deficiency and markedly reduced calcitriol levels, which may predispose them to worse outcomes of COVID-19 infection. Some hemodialysis patients receive treatment with drugs for secondary hyperparathyroidism, which have well known pleiotropic effects beyond mineral metabolism. The aim of this study was to evaluate the impact of VD status and the administration of active vitamin D medications, used to treat secondary hyperparathyroidism, on survival in a cohort of COVID-19 positive HD patients. METHODS A cross-sectional retrospective observational study was conducted from 12 March to 21 May 2020 in 288 HD patients with positive PCR for SARS-CoV2. Patients were from 52 different centers in Spain. RESULTS The percent of HD patients with COVID-19 was 6.1% (288 out of 4743). Mortality rate was 28.4% (81/285). Three patients were lost to follow-up. Serum 25(OH)D (calcidiol) level was 17.1 [10.6-27.5] ng/mL and was not significantly associated to mortality (OR 0.99 (0.97-1.01), p = 0.4). Patients receiving active vitamin D medications (16/94 (17%) vs. 65/191(34%), p = 0.003), including calcimimetics (4/49 (8.2%) vs. 77/236 (32.6%), p = 0.001), paricalcitol or calcimimetics (19/117 (16.2%) vs. 62/168 (36.9%); p < 0.001), and also those on both paricalcitol and calcimimetics, to treat secondary hyperparathyroidism (SHPTH) (1/26 (3.8%) vs. 80/259 (30.9%), p < 0.001) showed a lower mortality rate than patients receiving no treatment with either drug. Multivariate Cox regression analysis confirmed this increased survival. CONCLUSIONS Our findings suggest that the use of paricalcitol, calcimimetics or the combination of both, seem to be associated with the improvement of survival in HD patients with COVID-19. No correlation was found between serum VD levels and prognosis or outcomes in HD patients with COVID-19. Prospective studies and clinical trials are needed to support these findings.