A retrospective study finds that obese patients with sepsis had a mortality risk comparable to sepsis patients who were overweight and of normal weight.

Overall, 15% of patients died following onset of sepsis, and mortality did not differ significantly between patients who were obese and those who were overweight or normal weight. Length of stay in the ICU and hospital total length of stay also did not differ significantly between obese and non-obese patients.

The analysis involved a contemporary population of patients, all treated in accordance with an established sepsis protocol, which might account for the lack of an “obesity paradox,” Jeffrey Fried, MD, of Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital in California, said here at CHEST 2015.

“Compared to previous studies, our patients were all ICU patients with severe sepsis and septic shock and generally sicker, based on APACHE II scores,” Fried said. “In spite of this, our overall mortality [in all patients] was significantly lower than most previous studies. Our patients were treated under a well-developed sepsis protocol, with early identification, rapid antibiotic administration, and aggressive fluid resuscitation.”

Though comprehensive and well done, the 1,000-patient analysis does not close the door on the question of how obesity affects outcomes in sepsis, said David De La Zerda, MD, of the University of Miami. The data pertain to a specific group of patients managed by a sepsis protocol developed at a single institution.

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