Background: The association between body mass index (BMI) and mortality in patients suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) has been a subject of interest for decades. However, the evidence is inadequate to draw robust conclusions because some studies were generally small or with a short follow-up.
Methods: We carried out a search in MEDLINE, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, and EMBASE database for relevant studies. Relative risks (RRs) with 95% confidence interval (CI) were calculated to assess the association between BMI and mortality in patients with COPD. In addition, a baseline risk-adjusted analysis was performed to investigate the strength of this association.
Results: 22 studies comprising 21,150 participants were included in this analysis. Compared with patients having a normal BMI, underweight individuals were associated with higher mortality (RR = 1.34, 95% CI = 1.01-1.78), whereas overweight (RR = 0.47, 95% CI = 0.33-0.68) and obese (RR = 0.59, 95% CI = 0.38-0.91) patients were associated with lower mortality. We further performed a baseline risk-adjusted analysis and obtained statistically similar results.
Conclusion: Our study showed that for patients with COPD being overweight or obese had a protective effect against mortality. However, the relationship between BMI and mortality in different classes of obesity needed further clarification in well-designed clinical studies.