Hospital for Special Surgery Researchers: Obesity Decreases Risk of Respiratory InsufficiencyWritten by Laura Miller | July 11, 2011
Researchers at the Hospital for Special Surgery found that obese patients undergoing surgery are less likely to develop respiratory insufficiency and adult respiratory distress syndrome, according to a hospital news release.
The obese adults who do develop RI were also less likely to have fatal outcomes, according to the report that will be published in the Journal of Intensive Care Medicine. The researchers pinpointed the protective mechanism that could help obese patients develop interventions to help non-obese patients avoid adverse outcomes.
For the study, researchers used a national database sponsored by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality to identify patients between 1998 and 2007 who underwent surgeries with a high risk of RI/ARDS. The researchers found that 5.48 percent of patients were diagnosed with obesity and the incidence of RI/ARDS was 1.82 percent among them. The RI/ARDS rate was 2.01 percent among non-obese patients.
Researchers speculate that the obese patients are less likely to incur fatal outcomes because they have more energy stores or better nutritional status to help them during an acute illness. The fatty tissue may also have a positive effect in the setting of a high inflammatory state because fatty tissue acts as a sink for the cytokines, thus neutralizing them.
Read the release about respiratory insufficiency.
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