INTRODUCTION: COVID-19 is characterized by various clinical manifestations, mainly respiratory involvement . Disease-related malnutrition is associated with impaired respiratory function and increased all-cause morbidity and mortality . Patients with COVID-19 infection carry a high nutritional risk . After designing a specific nutritional support protocol for this disease, we carried out a retrospective study on malnutrition and on the use of nutritional support in patients with COVID-19 .
METHODS: We performed a retrospective study to determine whether nutritional support positively affected hospital stay, clinical complications, and mortality in patients with COVID-19 . We compared the results with those of standard nutritional management . Our secondary objectives were to determine the prevalence of malnutrition in patients with COVID-19 and the value of nutritional support in the hospital where the study was performed .
RESULTS: At least 60% of patients with COVID-19 experience malnutrition (up to 78.66% presented at least 1 of the parameters studied). The specialized nutritional support protocol was indicated in only 21 patients (28 %) and was started early in only 12 patients (16 %). Hospital stay was significantly shorter in patients managed with the early protocol (5.09 days , 95% CI , 1.338-8.853, p <0.01). Similarly, in this group, respiratory distress was less severe and less frequent (41% vs 82.5%, p <0.007), and statistically significantly fewer complications were recorded (9/12 vs 91/63; p <0.001).
CONCLUSIONS: COVID-19 is associated with high rates of disease-related malnutrition . Early implementation of a specialized nutritional support plan can improve the prognosis of these patients by reducing hospital stay, the possibility of more severe respiratory distress, and complications in general.