Original Article | Open Access
Roxana G Galesanu, Sarah Bernard, Karine Marquis, Yves Lacasse, Paul Poirier, Jean Bourbeau, François Maltais, "Obesity and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease: Is Fatter Really Better?", Canadian Respiratory Journal, vol. 21, Article ID 181074, 5 pages, 2014. https://doi.org/10.1155/2014/181074
Obesity and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease: Is Fatter Really Better?
BACKGROUND: Overweight/obesity is associated with longer survival in chronically ill patients, a phenomenon referred to as the ‘obesity paradox’.OBJECTIVE: To investigate whether the obesity paradox in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is due to fat accumulation or confounding factors.METHODS: A total of 190 patients with stable COPD who underwent a mean (± SD) follow-up period of 72±34 months were enrolled. Anthropometry, pulmonary function tests, midthigh muscle cross-sectional area obtained using computed tomography (MTCSACT), arterial blood gas and exercise testing data were measured at baseline. Patients were categorized into two subgroups according to body mass index (BMI) <25 kg/m2 or ≥25 kg/m2 (normal and overweight/obese, respectively).RESULTS: Seventy-two patients (38%) died during the follow-up period. Survival tended to be better in the overweight/obese patients but this difference did not reach statistical significance. Overweight/obese patients had better lung function and a larger MTCSACT than those with normal BMI (P<0.001). Overweight/obese patients also had a significantly higher peak work rate than patients with normal BMI (P<0.001). PaO2 and PaCO2 were not significantly different in the two groups. When adjusted for PaCO2, peak work rate and MTCSACT, the tendency for improved survival in overweight/obese patients disappeared. In fact, when these variables were considered in the survival analysis, patients with lower BMI tended to have better survival.CONCLUSION: These results suggest that important confounders, such as hypercapnia, exercise capacity and muscle mass, should be considered when interpreting the association between increased BMI and survival in patients with COPD.
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