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As girth grows, risk of sudden cardiac death shrinks
Date:3/16/2010

Obesity has long been identified as a risk factor for cardiovascular disease and heart failure. But, a new study conducted by researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center found that being skinny confers no advantage when it comes to the risk of dying suddenly from cardiac causes.

Scientists found that non-obese heart failure patients including overweight, normal and underweight patients had a 76 percent increase in risk of sudden cardiac death compared to obese heart failure patients. Normal and underweight patients showed a startling 99 percent increase in risk for sudden cardiac death compared to obese patients.

The results are being presented today at the American College of Cardiology Annual Scientific Session in Atlanta. The study, by researchers from one of the world's leading groups on sudden cardiac death, is the first to assess the relation between BMI and the risk of sudden cardiac death.

"This study is important because it not only answers questions regarding the risk of sudden cardiac death in different types of heart failure patients, but poses several new questions that need to be explored," said corresponding study author Dr. Ilan Goldenberg, research associate professor of Medicine in the Cardiology Division. "Why do obese heart failure patients see a risk advantage? Why do normal weight patients have a significantly different risk profile than those who are slightly overweight? These are important questions that may have treatment implications in the future."

The researchers at the University's Heart Research Follow-Up Program examined the risk of sudden cardiac death in 1,231 patients who had suffered at least one prior heart attack and had been diagnosed with a low ejection fraction, a measurement of how much blood is pumped from the heart with each beat. Their analysis found that decreased BMI or body mass index was associated with a large increase in the risk of sudden cardiac death. The
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Contact: Emily Butler
emily_butler@urmc.rochester.edu
585-273-1757
University of Rochester Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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