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Purpose: Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has affected millions of people all over the world with worse proven outcomes in those with certain comorbid conditions, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and pulmonary complications. The Rio Grande Valley located in South Texas with a largely Hispanic population has been hit especially hard during this pandemic with over 3,200 virus-related deaths. This region’s high population of diabetic and obese patients is likely correlated with the especially high mortality rate. While it is understood the impact that obesity has on worsening health outcomes, further research is needed to better understand whether more adverse COVID-19 outcomes are correlated with an underdiagnosis of Obesity Hypoventilation Syndrome (OHS) amongst obese patients.

Patients and Methods: Using an observational database from Valley Baptist Medical Center (VBMC) in Harlingen, TX, we gathered a list of COVID+ patients admitted between March 19, 2020 and September 25, 2020. COVID-19 was diagnosed based on World Health Organization (WHO) guidance. The official database is still a work-in-progress, as we are still working on manual data-entry for co-existing conditions and lab values for these patients.

Once the database is completed, evaluation guidelines as listed in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine will be used as a screening method to identify OHS in COVID+ patients. COVID-19 outcomes including hospitalization length, ICU transfer/admission, intubation count, in-hospital death will then be evaluated.

Results: Of the 1114 patients with COVID-19+ included in our database, we have completed chart review on 112 patients. Once the database is completed, statistical analysis will be performed using Python to see if there is a higher percentage of adverse COVID-19+ outcomes in OHS-suspected patients compared to obese patients who don’t meet the criteria for OHS. Further analysis will also be done to compare these outcomes to the remaining admitted COVID+ patients.

Conclusion: Database still in progress and no conclusion can be drawn at this time.

Academic Level

medical student

Mentor/PI Department

Internal Medicine

Available for download on Thursday, October 21, 2021