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What challenges do people with obesity experience after heart surgery?

After heart surgery people with obesity tend to have more medical comorbidities including diabetes, sleep apnea, and restrictive lung disease (among the most common). This increases surgical and anesthesia risk as the body has issues in its ability to cope and recover from surgery. In addition, obese people have more tissue to provide physiologic support for. In general, this creates a tendency for obese people to have more problems with surgery.

After heart surgery people with obesity experience longer overall hospital lengths of stay and discharges with home care, according to a study published in the Annals of Thoracic Surgery. The researchers also learned that following heart surgery, people with higher levels of obesity were four times more likely to require extra time in the intensive care unit (ICU), three times more likely to need additional time on mechanical ventilation, and three times more likely to be readmitted to the ICU.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.