West J Emerg Med. 2020 Jun 15;21(4):752-755. doi: 10.5811/westjem.2020.5.47972.
INTRODUCTION: For patients with COVID-19, several characteristics have been identified that may be associated with adverse outcomes. However, there is a paucity of data regarding the effect of obesity on young adult patients with COVID-19. We sought to identify whether adverse outcomes are associated with obesity, particularly in COVID-19 patients 45 years and younger.
METHODS: This was a two-center, retrospective cohort study that included 210 patients. Eligible patients were between the ages of 18-45 years old, had tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 on real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction via nasopharyngeal swab, and were not pregnant. Primary outcomes were defined as follows: 1) in-hospital mortality during the study period; 2) need for mechanical ventilation; and 3) admission to the hospital. We analyzed baseline characteristics of the cohort using descriptive statistics. Odds ratios (OR) were calculated to assess associations between outcomes and obesity, defined as body mass index (BMI) >30.
RESULTS: Of those patients who tested positive, 18 died during hospitalization (9%), 36 (17%) required mechanical ventilation, and 94 (45%) were admitted. Each of the primary outcomes was significantly associated with a BMI >30 (mortality OR = 6.29, 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.76-22.46, p = 0.0046; mechanical ventilation OR = 6.01, 95% CI, 2.5-14.48, p = 0.0001; admission OR 2.61, 95% CI, 1.49-4.58, p =.0008).
CONCLUSION: Obesity appears to be an independent risk factor for poor outcomes in young patients with COVID-19. Future studies examining the clinical characteristics and risk factors of COVID-19 patients across large, diverse populations will strengthen our understanding of this novel and complex disease.