Obesity Increases Risk for Post Heart Surgery Infections

Obesity increases risk for post heart surgery infections, according to a new study. It is known that people whose coronary arteries are blocked are recommended to undergo heart surgery to get the blood and oxygen flowing. The new findings, however, revealed that the same individuals have an increased risk for complications. A paper on the study was published in the Journal of the American Heart Association later this week.

"Obesity Increases Risk for Post Heart Surgery Infections"

Severe obesity is associated with a higher risk of developing an infection after a surgical operation.

Researchers found that severe obesity is associated with a higher risk of developing an infection after a surgical operation. People whose body mass index (BMI) is greater than 40 are more susceptible to medical complications. The team of experts looked at data of more than 7,500 patients who underwent coronary artery bypass surgery in the 2013-2014 period.

The 7,560 heart patients were set into five groups: the normal weight, the overweight, the first obese group, a second obese group, and the severely obese group.

The body mass index of each category ranged between 18.5 and over 40. About 20 percent of the patients had a normal weight, while over 40 percent were overweight. The three groups of obese patients formed less than 40 percent of the population sample.

The numbers confirmed that severely obese individuals were three times more at risk of developing an infection after their surgery than those who were set within the normal weight limits. Severely obese patients also had an increased 56 percent risk to suffer from complications within the first month of the surgery and spend more time in the hospital. The patients who were moderately obese had a 35 percent higher chance of developing infections post-surgery. Thus, providing proof that obesity increases risk for post heart surgery infections.

The duration of stay was thrice longer for the obese individuals who also suffered from diabetes (the condition is known as diabesity) compared with those without the disease and of normal weight. Therefore, it is crucial to ensure good glycemic control for people with diabetes after, as well as before, surgeries. It is unclear though why obese people tend to face infections. The study did not prove causation.

The US Centers for Disease Control reports an enormous number of over 400,000 US citizens that undergo coronary artery bypass each year. Furthermore, about seven in ten adults (aged 20 or older) are overweight or obese.

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