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Obesity May Up Length of Stay, Mortality for COVID-19 Patients in ICU

Last Updated: October 14, 2021.

THURSDAY, Oct. 14, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- A high body mass index (BMI) is associated with a higher risk for death and prolonged length of stay (LOS) in the intensive care unit (ICU) among patients with COVID-19, according to a study published online Oct. 13 in PLOS ONE.

Lovisa Sjögren, from University of Gothenburg in Sweden, and colleagues used data from the Swedish Intensive Care Registry to identify 1,649 COVID-19 patients admitted to ICUs to determine whether a high BMI affects the risk for death or prolonged LOS.

The researchers found a significant association between BMI and the risk for the composite outcome of death or LOS ≥14 days in survivors (odds ratio [OR] per standard deviation [SD] increase, 1.30), when adjusting for sex, age, and comorbidities. This association remained after further adjusting for severity of illness at ICU admission (OR, 1.30 per SD). Individuals with a BMI ≥35 kg/m2 had a twofold higher risk for the composite of death or LOS ≥14 days. There was also an association between a high BMI and death during intensive care and a prolonged LOS in survivors assessed as separate outcomes.

"Based on our findings, we suggest that individuals with obesity should be more closely monitored when hospitalized for COVID-19," the authors write.

One author disclosed ties to Johnson & Johnson Medical.

Abstract/Full Text (subscription or payment may be required)


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