COVID-19 is associated with clinically significant weight loss and risk of malnutrition, independent of hospitalisation: A post-hoc analysis of a prospective cohort study.
Clinical nutrition (Edinburgh, Scotland). 2021;(4):2420-2426
BACKGROUND & AIMS Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) may associate with clinical manifestations, ranging from alterations in smell and taste to severe respiratory distress requiring intensive care, that might associate with weight loss and malnutrition. We aimed to assess the incidence of unintentional weight loss and malnutrition in COVID-19 survivors. METHODS In this post-hoc analysis of a prospective observational cohort study, we enrolled all adult (age ≥18 years) patients with a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19 who had been discharged home from either a medical ward or the Emergency Department of San Raffaele University Hospital, and were re-evaluated after remission at the Outpatient COVID-19 Follow-Up Clinic of the same Institution from April 7, 2020, to May 11, 2020. Demographic, anthropometric, clinical and biochemical parameters upon admission were prospectively collected. At follow-up, anthropometrics, the mini nutritional assessment screening and a visual analogue scale for appetite were assessed. RESULTS A total of 213 patients were included in the analysis (33% females, median age 59.0 [49.5-67.9] years, 70% overweight/obese upon initial assessment, 73% hospitalised). Sixty-one patients (29% of the total, and 31% of hospitalised patients vs. 21% of patients managed at home, p = 0.14) had lost >5% of initial body weight (median weight loss 6.5 [5.0-9.0] kg, or 8.1 [6.1-10.9]%). Patients who lost weight had greater systemic inflammation (C-reactive protein 62.9 [29.0-129.5] vs.48.7 [16.1-96.3] mg/dL; p = 0.02), impaired renal function (23.7% vs. 8.7% of patients; p = 0.003) and longer disease duration (32 [27-41] vs. 24 [21-30] days; p = 0.047) as compared with those who did not lose weight. At multivariate logistic regression analysis, only disease duration independently predicted weight loss (OR 1.05 [1.01-1.10] p = 0.022). CONCLUSIONS COVID-19 might negatively impact body weight and nutritional status. In COVID-19 patients, nutritional evaluation, counselling and treatment should be implemented at initial assessment, throughout the course of disease, and after clinical remission. CLINICALTRIALS. GOV REGISTRATION NCT04318366.