Long Term Follow-Up of Sarcopenia and Malnutrition after Hospitalization for COVID-19 in Conventional or Intensive Care Units

Dan Levy, Margherita Giannini, Walid Oulehri, Marianne Riou, Christophe Marcot, Megane Pizzimenti, Lea Debrut, Anne Charloux, Bernard Geny*, Alain Meyer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


Background: The post-COVID-19 condition, defined as COVID-19-related signs and symptoms lasting at least 2 months and persisting more than 3 months after infection, appears now as a public health issue in terms of frequency and quality of life alterations. Nevertheless, few data are available concerning long term evolution of malnutrition and sarcopenia, which deserve further attention. Method: Sarcopenia was investigated prospectively, together with weight evolution, at admission and at 3 and 6 months after hospital discharge in 139 COVID-19 patients, using the European Working Group on Sarcopenia in Older People (EWGSOP2) criteria, associating both decreased muscle strength and muscle mass, assessed, respectively, with hand dynamometer and dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry. Results: Of the 139 patients, 22 presented with sarcopenia at 3 months; intensive care units (ICU) length of stay was the sole factor associated with sarcopenia after multivariate analysis. Although the entire group did not demonstrate significant weight change, weight decreased significantly in the sarcopenia group (Five and eight patients, showing, respectively, >5 or >10% weight decrease). Interestingly, at 6 months, 16 of the 22 patients recovered from sarcopenia and their weight returned toward baseline values. Conclusions: Sarcopenia and malnutrition are frequently observed in patients hospitalized for COVID-19, even 3 months after infection occurrence, but can largely be reversed at 6 months after discharge. Enhanced patient care is needed in sarcopenic patients, particularly during long stays in an ICU.

Original languageEnglish
Article number912
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • COVID-19
  • Critical care
  • Densitometry
  • Malnutrition
  • Muscle mass
  • Muscle strength
  • Rehabilitation
  • Sarcopenia


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