Sarcopenia is a Frequent Disease in Sars-Cov-2 Infection
Keywords:SARS-CoV-2, sarcopenia, rehabilitation, COVID-19
Objective: We aimed to investigate the clinical symptoms and specific care requirements of SARSCoV-2 patients who were admitted to a COVID-19 Rehabilitation Unit while still infectious for SARSCoV-2 and in the subacute phase of the disease.
Methods: Patients admitted to our COVID-19 Rehabilitation Unit from March 2020 to December 2020 were evaluated for sarcopenia, and they also completed the following assessments: functional independence measure, short physical performance battery and Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression. Age and body mass index and symptoms of dysosmia or dysgeusia were also recorded.
Results: A total of 126 patients were enrolled (50 women, median age 72 years, 18.7 years), of whom 82% of patients presented with low grip strength. Sarcopenia was diagnosed in 52 patients. Sarcopenic patients were older than nonsarcopenic ones (median age 73.4 years, IQR 13.2 vs 63.9 years, IQR 14.5, respectively, p = 0.014). Sarcopenia was associated with the presence of depression (p = 0.008), was more common in women (p = 0.023) and was associated with greater functional deficits (functional independence measure and short physical performance battery analyses, p < 0.05). Sarcopenic patients also had a lower body mass index than other patients (p < 0.01).
Conclusion: More than 40% of our patients suffered from sarcopenia, which was associated with ageing, depression, low body mass index, reduction in functional autonomy and being a woman. Such data provide evidence for the need to assist hospitalized COVID-19 patients by means of a multidisciplinary specialist team.
Many COVID-19 patients who require hospitalization in the first phase of the disease benefit from respiratory, motor or cognitive rehabilitation before being dismissed from the hospital. During this rehabilitative phase, these patients are still positive for SARS-CoV-2 and potentially infectious, although their symptoms might differ from the symptoms they encountered in the first days. The objective of this study was to examine the clinical condition of 126 COVID-19 patients in a COVID-19 rehabilitation ward. Our data demonstrated that 41% of these patients presented with sarcopenia, which represents a drastic loss of muscle mass. We noticed that the risk factors associated with sarcopenia were ageing, depression, being a woman and having more issues with being independent in daily life. These results reveal the importance of providing such COVID-19 patients with specific care by multidisciplinary teams of healthcare professionals.
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Copyright (c) 2023 Sandro Iannaccone, Luigia Brugliera, Alfio Spina, Gianluca Nocera, Andrea Tettamanti, Alessandra Giordani, Sara Angelone, Paola Castellazzi, Paolo Cimino, Jeffrey D. Padul, Elise Houdayer, Federica Alemanno
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