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Impact of body mass index on survival of medical patients with sepsis: a prospective cohort study in a university hospital in China

12 Sep 2018


To evaluate the impact of body mass index (BMI) on survival of a Chinese cohort of medical patients with sepsis.


A single-centre prospective cohort study conducted from May 2015 to April 2017.


A tertiary care university hospital in China.


A total of 178 patients with sepsis admitted to the medical intensive care unit (ICU) were included.

Main outcome measures

The primary outcome was 90-day mortality while the secondary outcomes were in-hospital mortality, length of ICU stay and length of hospital stay.


The median age (IQR) was 78 (66–84) years old, and 77.0% patients were older than 65 years. The 90-day mortality was 47.2%. The in-hospital mortality was 41.6%, and the length of ICU stay and hospital stay were 12 (5–22) and 15 (9–28) days, respectively. Cox proportional hazard regression analysis identified that Sequential Organ Failure Assessment score (HR=1.229, p<0.001), Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation II score (HR=1.050, p<0.001) and BMI (HR=0.940, p=0.029) were all independently associated with the 90-day mortality. Patients were divided into four groups based on BMI (underweight 33 (18.5%), normal 98 (55.1%), overweight 36 (20.2%) and obese 11 (6.2%)). The 90-day mortality (66.7%, 48.0%, 36.1% and 18.2%, p=0.015) and in-hospital mortality (60.6%, 41.8%, 30.6% and 18.2%, p=0.027) were statistically different among the four groups. Differences in survival among the four groups were demonstrated by Kaplan-Meier survival analysis (p=0.008), with the underweight patients showing a lower survival rate.


BMI was an independent factor associated with 90-day survival in a Chinese cohort of medical patients with sepsis, with patients having a lower BMI at a higher risk of death.

Click here to view the full article which appeared in BMJ Open

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