Nutrients. 2023 Mar 6;15(5):1298. doi: 10.3390/nu15051298.
BACKGROUND: Malnutrition and increased malnutrition risk are frequently identified in hospitalized adults. The increase in hospitalization rates during the COVID-19 pandemic was accompanied by the documentation of adverse hospitalization outcomes in the presence of certain co-morbidities, including obesity and type 2 diabetes. It was not clear whether the presence of malnutrition increased in-hospital death in patients hospitalized with COVID-19.
OBJECTIVES: To estimate the effect of malnutrition on in-hospital mortality in adults hospitalized with COVID-19; and secondarily, to estimate the prevalence of malnutrition in adults hospitalized with malnutrition during the COVID-19 pandemic.
METHODS: EMBASE, MEDLINE, PubMed, Google Scholar, and Cochrane Collaboration databases were queried using the search terms malnutrition and COVID-19 and hospitalized adults and mortality. Studies were reviewed using the 14-question Quality Assessment Tool for Studies with Diverse Designs (QATSDD) (questions appropriate for quantitative studies). Author names; date of publication; country; sample size; malnutrition prevalence; malnutrition screening/diagnostic method; number of deaths in malnourished patients; and number of deaths in adequately nourished patients were extracted. Data were analyzed using MedCalc software v20.210 (Ostend, Belgium). The Q and I2 tests were calculated; a forest plot was generated, and the pooled odds ratio (OR) with 95% confidence intervals (95%CI) were calculated using the random effects model.
RESULTS: Of the 90 studies identified, 12 were finally included in the meta-analysis. In the random effects model, malnutrition or increased malnutrition risk increased odds of in-hospital death by more than three-fold: OR 3.43 (95% CI 2.549-4.60), p < 0.001. The pooled prevalence estimate for malnutrition or increased malnutrition risk was 52.61% (95% CI 29.50-75.14%).
DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS: It is clear that malnutrition is an ominous prognostic sign in patients hospitalized with COVID. This meta-analysis, which included studies from nine countries on four continents with data from 354,332 patients, is generalizable.