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Characterization and Outcomes in Patients with SARS-CoV-2 Infection According to Body Mass Index

Laura J Ballen, Maria A Urbano, Guillermo E Guzman, Karen M Feriz, Veline Martínez

Objective: SARS-CoV-2 was declared a pandemic in 2020. Several factors related to severity and mortality have been described, including obesity. In Colombia, 56% of the population is over-weight/obese. We sought to investigate the characterization and outcomes of patients according to body mass index in a highly complex center in Colombia.

Methods: This is a prospective longitudinal observational descriptive study in patients older than 18 years treated at the Fundación Valle del Lili University Hospital in Cali, Colombia in 2020-2021, with a diagnosis of SARS-CoV-2 infection. Socio demographic characteristics, medical history, clinical presentation, paraclinical characteristics and outcomes were described.

Results: The average age was 48 years, 53% were men. 66.5% of the patients were overweight or obese. The severity of the disease according to the Body Mass Index (BMI) (p=0.011), days of stay in the ICU (p=0.0093), overall stay (p=0.0031), and duration of mechanical ventilation (p=0.0069) had relationships directly proportional to the increase in BMI. Nonetheless, our report does not allow to determine the association between mortality and obesity in patients with SARS-CoV-2 infection, since the differences found were not statistically significant (P=0.493).

Conclusion: Obesity is a risk factor for adverse outcomes and morbidity in SARS-CoV-2 infection. However, more studies are needed to explore additional factors according to the stage of the pandemic and advances in vaccination. We did not find an association with an increase in mortality in overweight and obese patients.