Surgery Risks Higher for Obese
Obese Patients Have a Higher Risk of Complications Following Surgery
WebMD News Archive
March 14, 2007 -- Obese people have a much higher risk of potentially deadly
complications following surgery, a new study shows.
Researchers found obese patients had a significantly higher risk of
postoperative complications, such as heart attack, wound infection, nerve
injury, and urinary tract infections.
In addition, the study showed morbidly obese patients (patients more than
100 pounds over their ideal weight) were nearly twice as likely to die as a
result of complications following noncardiac surgery.
Researchers say the findings are especially troubling as obesity rates climb
in the U.S. According to the CDC, more than 30% of the adult U.S. population is
now considered obese.
"Our study provides further evidence of the dangers of obesity as it
relates to surgery," says researcher Olumuyiwa A. Bamgbade, MD, a visiting
instructor at the University of Michigan, in a news release.
Obesity Raises Surgery Risks
Researchers analyzed postoperative complications among 6,773 patients
treated between 2001 and 2005 from the University of Michigan anesthesiology
department database. Of the patients who experienced complications, about
one-third were obese and nearly 15% were morbidly obese.
The results showed obese patients had much higher rates of postoperative
complications than nonobese patients, such as:
- Five times higher rate of heart attack
- Four times higher rate of peripheral nerve injury
- 1.7 times higher rate of wound infection
- 1.5 times higher rate of urinary tract infection
The overall death rate did not vary between obese and nonobese patients, but
the death rate was nearly twice as high among morbidly obese patients compared
with nonobese patients (2.2% vs. 1.2%).
Because of the increased risk of postoperative complications, researchers
recommend that obese patients who have outpatient surgery stay in the hospital
for monitoring for 23 hours.