Obese patients at elevated risk to have complications after orthopedic trauma

This study of patients admitted to a level 1 trauma center for orthopedic injuries showed patients who were obese experienced more complications, as well as longer hospital and intensive care unit stays, than non-obese patients.

Researchers collected data for 30 months on 376 patients who were surgically treated for a high-energy fractures of the proximal or diaphyseal femur, pelvic ring, acetabulum or spine. Researchers identified patients with a BMI of 30 or greater as obese and patients with a BMI of less than 30 as non-obese. Overall, 42% of patients were considered obese.

Researchers found obese patients were more likely to be treated for pelvic ring injuries, while non-obese patients were more likely to be treated for femoral fractures. Results showed obese patients waited a mean of 47% longer than non-obese patients to have their fractures stabilized.

Heather A. Vallier

Obese patients also experienced longer hospital stays, with more days stayed in the intensive care unit, more days on mechanical ventilation and more total days in the hospital. Compared with non-obese patients, results showed obese patients were more likely to have complications (38% vs. 28.4%) and to develop infections (11.4% vs. 5.5%).

Although early failure of fixation occurred more often in obese patients, rates of nonunion were not significantly different between obese and non-obese patients, according to researchers. As BMI increased, researchers found an increase in the frequency of complications, longer mechanical ventilation times and longer total length of hospital stay. – by Casey Tingle

Disclosures: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.

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