Coronary artery bypass patients with severe obesity more likely to experience infection shortly after surgery: Research

A latest research, published in Journal of the American Heart Association, the Open Access Journal of the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, says that people suffering from coronary artery bypass who also have severe obesity were more probable to contract infection soon after surgery and can stay hospitalized for longer time span.

Researchers said that in comparison to coronary artery bypass patients who have normal weight, patients with extreme obesity were thrice more vulnerable to develop an infection post-bypass surgery. Through the coronary artery bypass surgery, blood flow is redirected to the heart surrounding clogged heart arteries.

The study’s senior author, Mary Forhan, Ph.D., assistant professor at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada, said, “Based on the results of this study it appears that addressing infection risk might be an effective strategy to decrease the length-of-stay for patients with obesity who undergo coronary artery bypass surgery”.

The study used a Canadian database of heart patients, and analyzed how a racially and ethnically varied group of 7,560 patients fared following a bypass surgery in Edmonton in the years April 2003 to March 2014.

The division of the patients was done as per their body mass index into five different groups, including normal weight with BMI 18.5-24.9; overweight with 25-29.9; and obesity class I with 30-34.9, class II with 35-39.9, and the members with 40 or higher BMI in class III.

In the Edmonton research, 20% bypass patients had normal weight, 40.7% were overweight, and 25.7%, 9.2%, and 4.4% belonged to obesity classes I, II, and III, respectively.

The researchers reported that in comparison to patients at normal weight, the ones who had severe obesity were younger; faced more risk of diabetes, possessed high levels of cholesterol/triglycerides, elevated blood pressure, or lung disease; and had more chances of being undergone a coronary angioplasty, which is a surgical procedure conducted to open the heart’s clogged arteries.

According to a story published on the topic by US News, “Severely obese people may have a higher risk of certain complications after heart bypass surgery than normal-weight patients, a new study suggests. The researchers found that severe obesity was linked to much higher odds of developing an infection soon after heart bypass surgery. And severely obese patients were also more likely to have longer hospital stays than normal-weight patients.”

For the study, the investigators reviewed data from more than 7,500 Canadians who had coronary artery bypass surgery between 2003 and 2014. This surgery redirects blood flow to the heart around clogged arteries. People with a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or more were considered severely obese. BMI is a rough estimate of a person’s body fat based on height and weight. A BMI between 35 and 39.9 is considered severe obesity, while 30 to 34.9 is obesity. A normal BMI is 18.5 to 24.9, the study authors said.

“Based on the results of this study, it appears that addressing infection risk might be an effective strategy to decrease the length-of-stay for patients with obesity who undergo coronary artery bypass surgery,” senior study author Mary Forhan said in a journal news release. She is an assistant professor in the department of occupational therapy, faculty of rehabilitation medicine at University of Alberta in Edmonton.

“Coronary artery bypass patients who have severe obesity are more likely to experience infection shortly after surgery and stay in the hospital longer, according to new research in Journal of the American Heart Association, the Open Access Journal of the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association,” according to a news report published by Eurek Alert.

Compared to coronary artery bypass patients with normal weight, patients with severe obesity were three times more likely to develop an infection after bypass surgery, researchers said. Coronary artery bypass surgery redirects blood flow to the heart around clogged heart arteries.

A report published in The News Independent said, “The researchers found out that in comparison to the coronary artery bypass patients who were of normal weight, the severely obese patients were at least three times more likely to get an infection after the surgery. The coronary artery bypass surgery is conducted to redirect the blood to the heart around the arteries which have been clogged.”

Commenting on the findings, senior author of the study, Ph.D. and assistant professor in the Department of Occupational Therapy, Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine, at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada, Mary Forhan said, “Based on the results of this study it appears that addressing infection risk might be an effective strategy to decrease the length-of-stay for patients with obesity who undergo coronary artery bypass surgery.”

After comparing the results, the researchers noted that in comparison to the patients with normal weight, the severely obese patients were likely to be younger, had chances of diabetes , elevated cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, more chances of lung disease and were also more likely to have undergone coronary angioplasty.

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