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Sarcopenic obesity and the risk of hospitalisation or death from COVID-19: findings from UK Biobank
Thomas Wilkinson; Thomas Yates; Luke A Baker; Francesco Zaccardi; Alice C Smith.
  • Thomas Wilkinson; University of Leicester
  • Thomas Yates; Leicester NIHR Biomedical Research Centre
  • Luke A Baker; University of Leicester
  • Francesco Zaccardi; Leicester Diabetes Research Centre
  • Alice C Smith; University of Leicester
Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-21253945
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ABSTRACT
BackgroundCoronavirus disease{square}2019 (COVID{square}19) is an infectious disease caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS{square}CoV{square}2 virus). The role of skeletal muscle mass in modulating immune response is well documented. Whilst obesity is well-established as a key factor in COVID-19 infection and outcome, no study has examined the influence of both sarcopenia (low muscle mass) and obesity, termed sarcopenic obesity on COVID-19 risk. MethodsThis study uses data from UK Biobank. Probable sarcopenia was defined as low handgrip strength. Sarcopenic obesity was mutually exclusively defined as the presence of obesity and low muscle mass (based on two established criteria appendicular lean mass (ALM) adjusted for either 1) height and 2) body mass index (BMI)). Severe COVID-19 was defined by a positive test result in a hospital setting or death with a primary cause reported as COVID-19. Fully adjusted logistic regression models were used to analyse the associations between sarcopenic status and severe COVID-19. This work was conducted under UK Biobank application number 52553. ResultsWe analysed data from 490,301 UK Biobank participants. 2203 (0.4%) had severe COVID-19 infection. Individuals with probable sarcopenia were 64% more likely to have had severe COVID-19 infection (odds ratio (OR) 1.638; P<.001). Obesity increased the likelihood of severe COVID-19 infection by 76% (P<.001). Using either ALM index and ALM/BMI index to define low muscle mass, those with sarcopenic obesity were 2.6 times more likely to have severe COVID-19 (OR 2.619; P<.001). Sarcopenia alone did not increase the risk of COVID-19. ConclusionsSarcopenic obesity may increase the risk of severe COVID-19 infection, over that of obesity alone. The mechanisms for this are complex but could be a result of a reduction in respiratory functioning, immune response, and ability to respond to metabolic stress.
Full text: Available Collection: Preprints Database: medRxiv Language: English Year: 2021 Document Type: Preprint
Full text: Available Collection: Preprints Database: medRxiv Language: English Year: 2021 Document Type: Preprint