Urinary cadmium concentration is associated with the severity and clinical outcomes of COVID-19: a bicenter observational cohort study

Li Chung Chiu, Chung Shu Lee, Ping Chih Hsu, Hsin Hsien Li, Tien Ming Chan, Ching Chung Hsiao, Scott Chih Hsi Kuo, How Wen Ko, Shu Min Lin, Chun Hua Wang, Horng Chyuan Lin, Pao Hsien Chu, Tzung Hai Yen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article peer-review

1 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Cadmium and nickel exposure can cause oxidative stress, induce inflammation, inhibit immune function, and therefore has significant impacts on the pathogenesis and severity of many diseases. Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection can also provoke oxidative stress and the dysregulation of inflammatory and immune responses. This study aimed to assess the potential associations of cadmium and nickel exposure with the severity and clinical outcomes of patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

METHODS: We performed a retrospective, observational, bicenter cohort analysis of patients with SARS-CoV-2 infection in Taiwan between June 2022 and July 2023. Cadmium and nickel concentrations in blood and urine were measured within 3 days of the diagnosis of acute SARS-CoV-2 infection, and the severity and clinical outcomes of patients with COVID-19 were analyzed.

RESULTS: A total of 574 patients were analyzed and divided into a severe COVID-19 group (hospitalized patients) (n = 252; 43.9%), and non-severe COVID-19 group (n = 322; 56.1%). The overall in-hospital mortality rate was 11.8% (n = 68). The severe COVID-19 patients were older, had significantly more comorbidities, and significantly higher neutrophil/lymphocyte ratio, C-reactive protein, and interleukin-6 than the non-severe COVID-19 patients (all p < 0.05). Blood and urine cadmium and urine nickel concentrations were significantly higher in the severe COVID-19 patients than in the non-severe COVID-19 patients. Among the severe COVID-19 patients, those in higher urine cadmium/creatinine quartiles had a significantly higher risk of organ failure (i.e., higher APACHE II and SOFA scores), higher neutrophil/lymphocyte ratio, lower PaO 2/FiO 2 requiring higher invasive mechanical ventilation support, higher risk of acute respiratory distress syndrome, and higher 60-, 90-day, and all-cause hospital mortality (all p < 0.05). Multivariable logistic regression models revealed that urine cadmium/creatinine was independently associated with severe COVID-19 (adjusted OR 1.643 [95% CI 1.060-2.547], p = 0.026), and that a urine cadmium/creatinine value > 2.05 μg/g had the highest predictive value (adjusted OR 5.349, [95% CI 1.118-25.580], p = 0.036).

CONCLUSIONS: Urine cadmium concentration in the early course of COVID-19 could predict the severity and clinical outcomes of patients and was independently associated with the risk of severe COVID-19.

Original languageEnglish
Article number29
Pages (from-to)29
JournalEnvironmental Health: A Global Access Science Source
Issue number1
StatePublished - 19 03 2024

Bibliographical note

© 2024. The Author(s).


  • COVID-19
  • Cadmium
  • Mortality
  • Nickel
  • Outcomes
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Severity
  • Creatinine
  • Humans
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Cohort Studies


Dive into the research topics of 'Urinary cadmium concentration is associated with the severity and clinical outcomes of COVID-19: a bicenter observational cohort study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this