Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a recently encountered disease that was declared a pandemic by WHO in 2020. Obesity and other components of the metabolic syndrome may aggravate the severity of COVID-19. Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) represents the hepatic manifestation of metabolic syndrome. The aim of this study was to investigate a possible association between MAFLD and COVID-19 severity.
We performed a retrospective, case-control study, enrolling 71 consecutive COVID-19 patients who were divided into two groups according to the presence or absence of fatty liver by computed tomography scan. All medical records of eligible patients were reviewed including demographic, clinical, laboratory parameters and data regarding the presence of NAFLD and COVID-19 severity.
NAFLD was identified in 22/71 (31%) of the study group. Out of 71, thirteen suffered from severe COVID-19. NAFLD patients had more severe COVID-19 compared with non-NAFLD subjects, 8/22 (36.3%) vs. 5/49(10.2%), (P < 0.005), respectively. Multiple logistic regression analysis showed that NAFLD subjects were more likely to have severe COVID-19 disease (odds ratio 3.57, 95% confidence interval: 1.22, 14.48, P = 0.0031).
NAFLD represents a high risk for severe COVID-19 irrespective to gender, and independent of metabolic syndrome specifically in male gender. Moreover, obesity, hypertension and metabolic syndrome were also significantly associated with severe COVID-19.