A research ofLa Sapienza University, published in the scientific journal , on patients in intensive care for Covid-19 suggests a correlation between those who have more visceral fat than the average and more likely to end up in intensive care due to worsening of the symptoms of Coronavirus. The study was carried out by Mikiko Watanabe researcher at the Department of Experimental Medicine, Medical Physiopathology, Food Science and Endocrinology, under the guidance of Professor Lucio Gnessi and Professor Andrea Laghi, of the Sapienza University of Rome, in collaboration with the Campus Bio-Medico of the University of Rome and theSant’Orsola Malpighi Hospital from Bologna.
Easier to end up in intensive care?
The retrospective study. conducted by examining the medical records of one hundred and fifty patients (64.7% males, between 22 and 97 years old), he wanted to demonstrate how not only the “belly” makes Covid-19 aggravate at all ages, but also that visceral fat would even seem to be a more important element of lung status in explaining the need for mechanical ventilation. Specifically, it emerged – Dr. Watanabe remembers – that intubated patients of all ages, young and old, have a greater amount of visceral fat. In particular, for each increase equal to one unit of visceral fat, there is a 2.5 times greater probability of having to be intubated in order to breathe (Odds Ratio 2.5; 95% CI 1.02-6.02). The data had already emerged from some studies and reports carried out on different types of patients in different areas of the world: New York, Paris, London. Professor Matteo Bassetti, director of the Infectious Diseases Clinic of the San Martino Hospital (GE), had also talked about it in a webinar in June in which he reported some research published in prestigious scientific journals that highlighted the risks of more aggressive symptoms of Covid-19 for obese and diabetic patients.
There is a need for further confirmation
Professor Giovanni Spera, Endocrinologist, former professor at Sapienza in Rome underlines the importance of Dr. Watanabe’s work as it would be a confirmation of the need for carefully evaluate weight and percentage of abdominal / visceral fat to plan the interventions able to contain the health impact of a possible new infectious wave. “We don’t read about anthropometric evaluations (body mass index and abdominal circumference), but, again in my opinion, they should be done, also because there are strategies for preventing and containing the problem and are also very effective”, recalls Professor Hope. However, as the study authors themselves point out, who need further confirmatory studies, on the one hand by investigating visceral fat as a useful clinical indicator and, on the other, by clarifying the underlying pathophysiology.