Survival Benefit of Obese Patients With Pulmonary Embolism

Mayo Clin Proc. 2019 Oct;94(10):1960-1973. doi: 10.1016/j.mayocp.2019.04.035.


Objective: To investigate the impact of obesity and underweight on adverse in-hospital outcomes in pulmonary embolism (PE).

Patients and methods: Patients diagnosed as having PE based on International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, 10th Revision, German Modification code I26 in the German nationwide inpatient database were stratified for obesity, underweight, and normal weight/overweight (reference group) and compared regarding adverse in-hospital outcomes.

Results: From January 1, 2011, through December 31, 2014, 345,831 inpatients (53.3% females) 18 years and older were included in this analysis; 8.6% were obese and 0.5% were underweight. Obese patients were younger (67.0 vs 73.0 years), were more frequently female (60.2% vs 52.7%), had a lower cancer rate (13.6% vs 20.5%), and were more often treated with systemic thrombolysis (6.4% vs 4.3%) and surgical embolectomy (0.3% vs 0.1%) vs the reference group (P<.001 for all). Overall, 51,226 patients (14.8%) died during in-hospital stay. Obese patients had lower mortality (10.9% vs 15.2%; P<.001) vs the reference group and a reduced odds ratio (OR) for in-hospital mortality (OR, 0.74; 95% CI, 0.71-0.77; P<.001) independent of age, sex, comorbidities, and reperfusion therapies. This survival benefit of obese patients was more pronounced in obesity classes I (OR, 0.56; 95% CI, 0.52-0.60; P<.001) and II (OR, 0.63; 95% CI 0.58-0.69; P<.001). Underweight patients had higher prevalence of cancer and higher mortality rates (OR, 1.15; 95% CI, 1.00-1.31; P=.04).

Conclusion: Obesity is associated with decreased in-hospital mortality rates in patients with PE. Although obese patients were more often treated with reperfusion therapies, the survival benefit of obese patients occurred independently of age, sex, comorbidities, and reperfusion treatment.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Hospital Mortality*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / complications*
  • Pulmonary Embolism / etiology*
  • Pulmonary Embolism / mortality*
  • Survival Rate
  • Thinness / complications*