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Mortality Lower for Patients With Obesity and ARDS Receiving ECMO

ICU mortality lower compared with patients without obesity in multivariable and propensity score-matched analyses

By Elana Gotkine HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Aug. 31, 2023 (HealthDay News) — Among patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) receiving extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) support, obesity is associated with lower intensive care unit (ICU) mortality, according to a study published online Aug. 28 in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

Darya Rudym, M.D., from New York University Langone Health in New York City, and colleagues examined the association between obesity and ICU mortality in patients with ARDS receiving ECMO in a large, retrospective cohort study. The study included 790 patients with ARDS receiving ECMO, of whom 320 had obesity.

The researchers found that 24.1 percent of patients with obesity and 35.3 percent of patients without obesity died in the ICU. Obesity was associated with lower ICU mortality in adjusted models (odds ratio, 0.63). In a multivariable regression analysis, higher body mass index was associated with lower ICU mortality when examined as a continuous variable (odds ratio, 0.97). In a propensity score-matched analysis of 199 patients with obesity and 199 patients without, patients with obesity had a lower probability of ICU death (22.6 percent) versus those without (35.2 percent).

“We hope that clinicians will consider the data from this study when making bedside decisions for ARDS patients with obesity instead of preemptively withholding this lifesaving therapy,” Rudym said in a statement.

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