Objectives: The purpose of this study was to assess whether the metabolically healthy obese phenotype is associated with lower heart failure (HF) risk compared with normal-weight individuals with metabolic syndrome (MetS).
Background: Obesity and MetS often coexist and are associated with increased HF risk. It is controversial whether obese individuals with normal insulin sensitivity have decreased HF risk.
Methods: A total of 550 individuals without diabetes or baseline macrovascular complications were studied during a median follow-up of 6 years. Participants were classified by presence (n = 271) or absence (n = 279) of MetS and by body mass index (body mass index: <25 kg/m(2) = normal weight, n = 177; 25 to 29.9 kg/m(2) = overweight, n = 234; ≥ 30 kg/m(2) = obese, n = 139). MetS was diagnosed with the National Cholesterol Education Program Adult Treatment Panel III criteria. Left ventricular functional capacity, myocardial structure, and performance were assessed echocardiographically.
Results: Body mass index was not associated with increased HF risk. The presence of MetS conferred a 2.5-fold higher HF risk (hazard ratio [HR]: 2.5, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.68 to 3.40). Overweight and obese individuals without MetS had the lowest 6-year HF risk (HR: 1.12, 95% CI: 0.35 to 1.33 [corrected] and HR: 0.41, 95% CI: 0.10 to 1.31, respectively) compared with normal-weight individuals with MetS (HR: 2.33, 95% CI: 1.25 to 4.36, p < 0.001). From the individual components of MetS, impaired fasting glucose (HR: 1.09, 95% CI: 1.06 to 1.10), high BP (HR: 2.36, 95% CI: 1.03 to 5.43), low high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HR: 1.88, 95% CI: 1.29 to -2.77), and central obesity (HR: 2.22, 95% CI: 1.02 to 1.05) were all associated with increased HF risk. Factors commonly associated with MetS such as insulin resistance and inflammation (high-sensitivity C-reactive protein and microalbuminuria) were also independently associated with HF incidence.
Conclusions: In contrast to normal weight insulin-resistant individuals, metabolically healthy obese individuals show decreased HF risk in a 6-year follow-up study.
Copyright © 2011 American College of Cardiology Foundation. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.