A new study indicates that patients with COPD who are overweight had better long-term survival than thinner patients following hospitalization for exacerbations.

In a newly published analysis of outcomes among 57 COPD patients following hospitalization, 5-year overall survival among overweight patients (ie, with a body mass index [BMI] ?25 kg/m2) was more than double that of patients whose weight was normal or who were underweight (74% versus 31%).

Several earlier studies have also linked overweight and obesity to longer COPD survival, suggesting that the so-called “obesity paradox” reported in heart disease and several other chronic diseases extends to the lung disorder.

Eight-year survival rates were 65% and 15%, respectively among patients with BMIs of 25 kg/m2 or more in the study reported by Paul Stoll, MD, of the University of Rostock in Germany, and colleagues in Respiratory Medicine.

Hospitalization for COPD exacerbations is associated with a significantly increased risk for death following the event, but the impact of exacerbations on long-term survival is not well known, the researchers noted.

“There is currently no study assessing long-term survival for more than 5 years after severe COPD exacerbations,” Stoll and colleagues wrote, adding that a key goal of their analysis was to identify specific patient characteristics that predicted long-term survival following hospitalization for exacerbations.

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