01/10/2007 - News

Study finds obese patients fare better in heart failure

By: Susan Aldridge, medical journalist, PhD


Study finds obese patients fare better in heart failure

Reported by Susan Aldridge, PhD, medical journalist

Obesity appears to protect patients from death from acute heart failure.
Obesity is a risk factor for heart disease. But once severe heart failure sets in, a paradox occurs. According to researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles, obesity then becomes a protective factor.

They report on mortality in more than 100,000 acute heart failure episodes. For the underweight, mortality was 6.3 per cent and for those of a healthy weight 4.6 per cent. The corresponding figures for the overweight and obese were 3.4 per cent and 2.4 per cent. The association between obesity and lower mortality persists even after other prognostic factors, like blood pressure and sex, are taken into account. It may be that overweight and obesity confer some kind of 'metabolic reserve' that helps the heart failure patients. Of course, people should still be encouraged to keep to a healthy weight, but maybe those who are underweight need some kind of nutritional support if they are admitted to hospital with acute heart failure.

American Heart Journal January 2007

Created on: 01/10/2007
Reviewed on: 01/10/2007

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