Research from the Mayo Clinic reveals that weight loss may have a positive impact on outcomes for lung transplant patients.

In the manuscript, “Weight loss prior to lung transplantation is associated with improved survival,” Mayo Clinic researchers showed that a one unit reduction in body mass index in overweight and obese lung transplant recipients resulted in a reduced risk of death. The study also showed overweight and obese patients who lost weight spent less time on a mechanical ventilator after transplantation surgery.

“We knew from past research that obesity complicates post-transplant outcomes and survival,” says Cassie Kennedy, MD, Mayo Clinic pulmonologist and transplant researcher. “Many practices advocated delaying transplant listing for obese patients to allow for weight loss, but we didn’t know if losing weight prior to transplantation was realistic. Patients awaiting lung transplantation have functional limitations that might impede weight loss. We also did not know if weight loss before lung transplant could actually help transplant patients live longer and avoid complications.

“This study showed weight loss in overweight and obese patients was achievable, sustained six to 12 months post-surgery, and that these individuals had improved survival and fewer complications related to their transplant procedure.”

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