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Researchers evaluate novel organ sharing system that could help save more lives

March 21, 2016

Compared to the overweight, normal and underweight patients, obese patients were younger, had a higher ejection fraction, higher blood pressure, diabetes and were more likely to be smokers. BMI was calculated as weight in kilograms divided by the square of height in meters for all study participants. The clinical definition of obesity - BMI ??30 kg/m2 - was used. Overweight patients fell into the 25 to 29 kg/m2 range of BMI values and normal/underweight patients fell into the < 25 kg/m2 range of values.

In addition to evaluating the relationship between BMI and sudden cardiac death, researchers assessed the effect of BMI on the benefit of implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) therapy. An implantable cardioverter defibrillator is a medical device about the size of a pager that is surgically implanted in the chest under local anesthesia. The device detects irregular and potentially fatal heart rhythms (arrhythmias), which often lead to sudden cardiac death, and shocks the heart back into a normal rhythm. Researchers found that implantable cardioverter defibrillator therapy was more effective in the non-obese patients with lower BMI values who were at higher risk for sudden cardiac death. These findings may help identify patients who would get the most benefit from an ICD - patients with a lower BMI.

Sudden cardiac death claims up to 330,000 American lives every year, accounting for about half of all cardiac deaths. Sudden cardiac arrest, a condition in which the heart suddenly and unexpectedly stops beating, leads to sudden cardiac death if it is not treated within minutes. Most cases of sudden cardiac arrest are due to abnormal heart rhythms that can result from blockage of coronary arteries or scarring from a prior heart attack. Certain drugs can also trigger abnormal rhythms and death.

Source: University of Rochester Medical Center