Poor nutritional status increases Covid mortality rate, find
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The nutritional status of Covid-19 patients is linked with the outcome of treatment as well as mortality, according to a study conducted at a city hospital. The study found poorer the nutritional status, the worse was the clinical outcome. The study also showed more deaths among patients who had bad nutritional status. It has recommended evaluation of nutritional status of Covid-19 infected patients who need hospital care so that this aspect could also be taken into consideration during treatment.

The observational study surveyed 106 patients above 18 years for the study. The nutritional status of each patient was evaluated using MUST (Malnutrition Universal Screening Tool), a widely used screening tool in the West. While the ideal MUST score is zero, 13 patients scored 1 on the MUST scale and 22 patients scored 2 and above. Seventy-one patients, however, passed the MUST test. While 89 patients recovered and were discharged from the hospital, 17 of them died. Of the 17 deaths, 11 had scored 2 and above on MUST while one had a score of 1, two others had 0 scores.

“Our aim was to find if there is any correlation between the nutritional status of a patient to the treatment outcome. Our study could establish poor nutrition leads to bad clinical outcomes. Covid management is multidisciplinary. If we screen patients and assess for nutritional risk well in advance and take care of this aspect in the management of the patient, this could lead to better treatment outcome,” said Peerless Hospital clinical research and academics director Subhrojyoti Bhowmick.

Of the 22 patients who scored 2 and above on MUST, 17 were in the 50-plus age group. Of them, 14 had died. “This kind of screening is being done mostly in NABH-accredited hospitals. We strongly feel that more hospitals should conduct this screening so that in addition to medications and therapies like oxygen, doctors can take care of the nutritional status of the patient,” said hospital’s chief dietician Sudeshna Maitra Nag.

The study concluded that higher nutritional risk was observed in elder patients and higher MUST score was associated with higher mortality.