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Obesity does not appear to adversely affect ED treatment

Obesity does not appear to adversely affect ED treatment

Obesity does not appear to adversely affect emergency department (ED) treatment, according to a study published in the latest issue of Emergency Medicine Australasia, the journal of the Australasian College for Emergency Medicine.

Professor David Taylor, from Austin Health and the University of Melbourne, with colleagues from the University of Melbourne conducted a prospective study in a large tertiary referral emergency department of over 700 patients between August 2010 and April 2011 to determine whether obesity, defined as a body mass index of 30.0 kg/m2, adversely affected the patients’ ED experience in terms of flow variables and rates of assistance, investigation and procedure.

Almost 200 (191) of these patients were found to be obese.

“Obese patients were significantly younger than non-obese patients, and they had significantly more IV cannulation attempts, liver function tests, cardiac enzyme tests, and abdominal x-rays,” Professor Taylor said.

“There were no differences between the obese and non-obese groups in time to be seen, monitoring, other procedures, assistance required, place of disposition, or ED length of stay.

“Obese patients had a lower death rate in the ED or hospital than non-obese patients,” he added.
In this single-centre study, obesity did not appear to adversely affect ED treatment.

The observed differences in some investigation rates may relate to suspected morbidities and difficulties in physical examination, Professor Taylor concluded.


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