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How weight aids seriously ill patients

Friday May 25th, 2018

Carrying extra weight improves patients’ prospects during treatment for a range of life-threatening conditions in hospital, according to a series of studies published yesterday.

Studies presented at the conference of the European Association for the Study of Obesity suggested that being overweight or obese improves survival chances when hospitalised for infection, sepsis or treated in intensive care.

An analysis of 35,000 patients in Denmark found survival chances doubled for those who were overweight or obese after admission to hospital for infectious disease of any kind.

Sigrid Gribsholt, of Aarhus University Hospital, reported: "Overweight and obesity were associated with substantially reduced 90-day mortality following incident hospital admission for infection.”

Meanwhile researchers found a 20% reduction in mortality risk for patients in the US treated in hospital for pneumonia linked to being overweight or obese.

Researchers analysed some 1.7 million patient episodes in 1,000 hospitals.

The researchers, from Taipei, Taiwan, report: "Using a large and nationally representative sample of over 1,000 hospitals in the US, we found that increase in body mass index was significantly associated with improved survival in patients hospitalised with pneumonia.

“We also found that severity and comorbidity burden had a modifying effect on survival."

A second study, reported to the conference in Vienna, Austria, by the same team in Taipei, found improved survival from sepsis among overweight and obese patients. This analysed some 3.7 million admissions in 1,000 hospitals.

The researchers found being overweight linked to improved survival chances of about 20%.

A fourth piece of research, from the Netherlands, found that obese patients in intensive care experience less muscle wasting than other patients.

The analysis involved 26 patients, of whom nine were obese. The researchers say the obese patients had a “distinctly different” pattern of muscle wasting.

Researcher Jeroen Molinger, of Erasmus MC University Medical Centre, Rotterdam, Netherlands, reported: "Critically ill patients with obesity seem to have higher muscle quality, as measured by ultrasound at the point of admittance to intensive care compared to non-obese patients. This might be the metabolic protective shield also described as the 'obesity paradox'."

Tags: A&E | Asia | Europe | Fitness | North America

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