Background: Coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) is a global pandemic. Obesity has been associated with increased disease severity in COVID-19, and obesity is strongly associated with hepatic steatosis (HS). However, how HS alters the natural history of COVID-19 is not well characterized, especially in Western populations. Aims: To characterize the impact of HS on disease severity and liver injury in COVID-19. Methods: We examined the association between HS and disease severity in a single-center cohort study of hospitalized COVID-19 patients at Michigan Medicine. HS was defined by either hepatic steatosis index > 36 (for Asians) or > 39 (for non-Asians) or liver imaging demonstrating steatosis > 30 days before onset of COVID-19. The primary predictor was HS. The primary outcomes were severity of cardiopulmonary disease, transaminitis, jaundice, and portal hypertensive complications. Results: In a cohort of 342 patients, metabolic disease was highly prevalent including nearly 90% overweight. HS was associated with increased transaminitis and need for intubation, dialysis, and vasopressors. There was no association between HS and jaundice or portal hypertensive complications. In a sensitivity analysis including only patients with liver imaging > 30 days before onset of COVID-19, imaging evidence of hepatic steatosis remained associated with disease severity and risk of transaminitis. Conclusions: HS was associated with increased disease severity and transaminitis in COVID-19. HS may be relevant in predicting risk of complications related to COVID-19.
- Acute liver injury
ASJC Scopus subject areas