Covid patients with history of malnutrition at higher risk o
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Adults and children with covid-19 who have had a history of malnutrition may have an increased likelihood of death and the need for mechanical ventilation, new research shows. The study investigated the associations between malnutrition diagnoses and subsequent covid-19 severity, using medical records for 8,604 children and 94,495 adults who were hospitalized with covid-19 in the US between March and June 2020.

Patients with a diagnosis of malnutrition between 2015 and 2019 were compared with patients without the condition. Malnutrition hampers the proper functioning of the immune system and is known to increase the risk of severe infections for other viruses, but the potential long-term effects of malnutrition on covid-19 outcomes are less clear.

The team found that of the 520 children with severe covid-19, 39 had a previous diagnosis of malnutrition; and 125 (1.5%) of 7,959 children with mild covid-19 had suffered malnutrition. Of 11,423 adults with severe covid-19, 453 (4%) had a previous diagnosis of malnutrition, compared with 1,557 (1.8%) of 81,515 adults with mild covid-19.

Children older than five and adults aged 18 to 78 years with previous diagnoses of malnutrition were found to have higher odds of severe covid-19 than those with no history of malnutrition in the same age groups. Children younger than five and adults aged 79 or above were found to have higher odds of severe covid-19 if they were not malnourished compared with those of the same age who were malnourished.

In children, this may be due to having less medical data for those under five, according to the authors. The risk of severe covid-19 in adults with and without malnutrition continued to rise with age above 79 years.