Infection Risk After Heart Surgery

Obesity may increase risk for infection after coronary artery bypass

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(RxWiki News) Severe obesity may increase the risk of infection after coronary artery bypass surgery, according to a new study.

The University of Alberta, Canada, researchers behind this study found that patients who underwent coronary artery bypass surgery and were classified with severe obesity were three times more likely than patients of normal weight to develop an infection after the surgery.

When an artery in your heart is blocked, surgeons may perform a coronary artery bypass surgery to create a new pathway around the blocked artery to ensure your heart receives adequate blood flow.

Researchers also found that severe obesity may go hand in hand with other conditions like diabetes, raised cholesterol/triglycerides, high blood pressure and lung disease.

Those with severe or moderate obesity were more likely to have complications within a month post-surgery. As a result, the median hospital stay was one day longer for those with severe obesity when compared to patients of normal weight. Furthermore, those with severe obesity and diabetes and who experienced a post-surgery infection stayed in the hospital 3.2 times longer.

"Based on the results of this study, it appears that addressing infection risk might be an effective strategy to decrease the length of stay for patients with obesity who undergo coronary artery bypass surgery," said senior study author Dr. Mary Forhan in a press release.

Dr. Forhan went on to note the importance of care for those with diabetes undergoing coronary artery bypass surgery.

"Therefore, as is recommended for all patients, efforts to ensure good glycemic control for patients with diabetes pre- and post-bypass are important," she said.

Researchers noted the need for further studies to determine ways to prevent infection, explore types or locations of infections and study methods to promote healing after surgery.

This study was recently published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

Alberta Innovates - Health Solutions funded this research. Study authors disclosed no conflicts of interest.

Last Updated:
June 1, 2016