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AHA: Obese Patients More Likely to Be Hospitalized for COVID-19

TUESDAY, Nov. 24, 2020 -- Obese patients are more likely to be hospitalized with COVID-19 and have worse outcomes, even if they are 50 years of age or younger, according to a study published online Nov. 17 in Circulation to coincide with the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions 2020, held virtually from Nov. 13 to 17.

Nicholas S. Hendren, M.D., from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, and colleagues analyzed data from 7,606 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 enrolled in the American Heart Association COVID-19 Cardiovascular Disease Registry to examine the effect of body mass index (BMI) on COVID-19 outcomes.

The researchers found that in comparison with the U.S. population, obesity, in particular class III obesity, was overrepresented in the registry; the largest differences were seen for adults aged 50 years and younger. Classes I to III obesity were associated with elevated risks for in-hospital death or mechanical ventilation (odds ratio [95 percent confidence interval], 1.28 [1.09 to 1.51], 1.57 [1.29 to 1.91], and 1.80 [1.47 to 2.20], respectively), while class III obesity was associated with an elevated risk for in-hospital death (hazard ratio, 1.26; 95 percent confidence interval, 1.00 to 1.58) after multivariable adjustment. An increased risk for mechanical ventilation was seen with overweight and class I to III obesity (odds ratio [95 percent confidence interval], 1.28 [1.09 to 1.51], 1.54 [1.29 to 1.84], 1.88 [1.52 to 2.32], and 2.08 [1.68 to 2.58], respectively). For all primary end points, significant interactions were seen between BMI and age; the association of BMI with death or mechanical ventilation was strongest, intermediate, and weakest for adults aged 50 years and younger, 51 to 70 years, and older than 70 years, respectively.

"In the hospital, obese individuals are at higher risk for death or the need for mechanical ventilation to help them breathe, even if they are young," Hendren said in a statement.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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Posted: November 2020

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