Underweight People at Higher Post-Surgery Risk
Underweight people have a 40 percent higher risk of dying post-surgery, according to a study released on Monday. According to the new research, body mass index, or BMI, may be a helpful predictor of which patients are at the greatest risk while recovering from surgery.
The study used data on nearly 190,000 patients who underwent a variety of surgeries at 183 hospitals between 2005 and 2006. Overall, 2,245 or 1.7 percent of people in the study died within 30 days of surgery. Even when researchers adjusted the statistics for type of surgery and other risk factors, those with a low BMI still had a greater risk of dying within the first month of surgery.
Researchers werenâ€™t sure of the reason why people with a lower BMI were at a higher risk post-surgery. One researcher speculated that since the study did not track weight loss before the surgery, people who weighed less may have been sicker to begin with. Either way, the study indicates that doctors should factor in BMI while making surgery decisions.
Do you have a low BMI?