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Coronavirus Workup Uric Acid

By Ronald Steriti, ND, PhD

Uric Acid as a Prognostic Factor and Critical Marker

A study explored whether uric acid (UA) can independently act as a prognostic factor and critical marker of the 2019 novel corona virus disease (COVID-19).
A multicenter, retrospective, and observational study including 540 patients with confirmed COVID-19 was carried out at four designated hospitals in Wuhan. Demographic, clinical, laboratory data were collected and analyzed. The primary end point was in-hospital death of patients with COVID-19.
The concentration of admission UA (adUA) and the lowest concentration of uric acid during hospitalization (lowUA) in the dead patients were significantly lower than those in the survivors.
Multivariate logistic regression analysis showed the concentration of lowUA (OR 0.986, 95% CI 0.980-0.992, p < 0.001) was able to independently predict the risk of in-hospital death. The mean survival time in the low-level group of lowUA was significantly lower than other groups.
When lowUA was ≤ 166 µmol/L, the sensitivity and specificity in predicting hospital short-term mortality were 76.9%, (95% CI 68.5-85.1%) and 74.9% (95% CI 70.3-78.9%).
The lowest concentration of UA during hospitalization can be used as a prognostic indicator and a marker of disease severity in severe patients with COVID-19. (Li et al., 2021)

Serum Uric Acid, Disease Severity and Outcomes

As SARS-CoV-2 infection causes a kidney proximal tubule dysfunction with urinary loss of uric acid, we hypothesized that
A study examined if low serum levels of uric acid (hypouricemia) may be associated with severity and outcome of COVID-19.
In a retrospective study using two independent cohorts, we investigated and validated the prevalence, kinetics and clinical correlates of hypouricemia among patients hospitalized with COVID-19 to a large academic hospital in Brussels, Belgium. Survival analyses using Cox regression and a competing risk approach assessed the time to mechanical ventilation and/or death. Confocal microscopy assessed the expression of urate transporter URAT1 in kidney proximal tubule cells from patients who died from COVID-19.
The discovery and validation cohorts included 192 and 325 patients hospitalized with COVID-19, respectively.
 Out of the 517 patients, 274 (53%) had severe and 92 (18%) critical COVID-19. In both cohorts, the prevalence of hypouricemia increased from 6% upon admission to 20% within the first days of hospitalization for COVID-19, contrasting with a very rare occurrence (< 1%) before hospitalization for COVID-19.
During a median (interquartile range) follow-up of 148 days (50-168), 61 (12%) patients required mechanical ventilation and 93 (18%) died. In both cohorts considered separately and in pooled analyses, low serum levels of uric acid were strongly associated with disease severity (linear trend, P < 0.001) and with progression to death and respiratory failure requiring mechanical ventilation in Cox (adjusted hazard ratio 5.3, 95% confidence interval 3.6-7.8, P < 0.001) or competing risks (adjusted hazard ratio 20.8, 95% confidence interval 10.4-41.4, P < 0.001) models. At the structural level, kidneys from patients with COVID-19 showed a major reduction in urate transporter URAT1 expression in the brush border of proximal tubules. 
Among patients with COVID-19 requiring hospitalization, low serum levels of uric acid are common and associate with disease severity and with progression to respiratory failure requiring invasive mechanical ventilation. (Dufour et al., 2021)



Dufour, I, et al. (2021), ‘Serum uric acid, disease severity and outcomes in COVID-19.’, Crit Care, 25 (1), 212. PubMed: 34127048
Li, G, et al. (2021), ‘Uric acid as a prognostic factor and critical marker of COVID-19.’, Sci Rep, 11 (1), 17791. PubMed: 34493750


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