Obese hospital patients less likely to die from sepsis, study finds

A study involving data from over 3 million patients admitted for sepsis in 1,000 U.S. hospitals revealed overweight or obese patients were more likely to survive the infection than normal weight patients, according to research from the European Association for the Study of Obesity.

Four things to know:

1. To identify patients hospitalized with sepsis, the researchers collected data from the Nationwide Readmissions Database between 2013 and 2014. The researchers then categorized hospitalized patients with sepsis as normal, overweight or obese according to their body mass index.

2. The research team used computer modeling to predict the association between body weight and 30-day in-hospital mortality. A total of 3,712,764 sepsis hospitalizations met the criteria to be included in the study. Of these patients, 52,101 were overweight, 511,140 were obese and 3,149,523 were normal weight.

3. When compared with normal weight patients, overweight patients were 23 percent less likely to die, and obese patients 22 percent less likely to die from being admitted to the hospital for sepsis. Additionally, 30-day readmission rates were slightly lower for overweight and obese patients.

4. "Using a large and nationally representative sample of over 1,000 hospitals in the U.S., we found that increase in BMI was significantly associated with improved survival and lowered readmission among hospitalized patients with sepsis," the study authors concluded. "Our results suggest that BMI may be used for risk stratification of patients with sepsis."

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