Monday, March 16, 2009

Obesity and heart transplantation

Being obese should not deny a patient having heart transplantation, say a lecture presented during the 56th Annual Scientific Session of the American College of Cardiology.

Guidelines for listing candidates for heart transplant were recently revised to include obesity ( BMI greater than 30kg/m2) as a potential reason for denial. However, the supporting evidence for the recommendation was very weak, so that researchers from the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York examined if there was indeed a link between pre-heart transplant BMI and post-transplant survival using data from United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS).

In this study, experts looked at more than 18000 first-time adult transplant recipients between 1995 and 2005. Subjects were divided into standard BMI categories: underweight, normal, overweight, obese, severely obese and morbidly obese.

Findings from the study showed that while the normal weight patients had the best survival (10.1 years), there was no statistical difference in the survival after transplantation among obese patients (9.6 years) and among the less severely overweight patients (9.7 years).

The findings, according to Dr. Mark Russo, lead researcher of the study, do not support the recommendation, but that, to the contrary, it shows that obese patients do not face an increased risk of death after transplantation.

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