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Crispi F, Crovetto F, Larroya M, Camacho M, Tortajada M, Sibila O, Badia JR, López M, Vellvé K, Garcia F, Trilla A, Faner R, Blanco I, Borràs R, Agustí A, Gratacós E. Low birth weight as a potential risk factor for severe COVID-19 in adults. Sci Rep. 2021 Feb 3;11(1):2909. doi: 10.1038/s41598-021-82389-9. PMID: 33536488.

The identification of factors predisposing to severe COVID-19 in young adults remains partially characterized. Low birth weight (LBW) alters cardiovascular and lung development and predisposes to adult disease. We hypothesized that LBW is a risk factor for severe COVID-19 in non-elderly subjects. We analyzed a prospective cohort of 397 patients (18-70 years) with laboratory-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection attended in a tertiary hospital, where 15% required admission to Intensive Care Unit (ICU). Perinatal and current potentially predictive variables were obtained from all patients and LBW was defined as birth weight ≤ 2.500 g. Age (adjusted OR (aOR) 1.04 [1-1.07], P = 0.012), male sex (aOR 3.39 [1.72-6.67], P < 0.001), hypertension (aOR 3.37 [1.69-6.72], P = 0.001), and LBW (aOR 3.61 [1.55-8.43], P = 0.003) independently predicted admission to ICU. The area under the receiver-operating characteristics curve (AUC) of this model was 0.79 [95% CI, 0.74-0.85], with positive and negative predictive values of 29.1% and 97.6% respectively. Results were reproduced in an independent cohort, from a web-based survey in 1822 subjects who self-reported laboratory-positive SARS-CoV-2 infection, where 46 patients (2.5%) needed ICU admission (AUC 0.74 [95% CI 0.68-0.81]). LBW seems to be an independent risk factor for severe COVID-19 in non-elderly adults and might improve the performance of risk stratification algorithms.

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