The impact of obesity on outcomes after critical illness: A meta-analysis

Charles W. Hogue, Joshua D. Stearns, Elizabeth Colantuoni, Karen A. Robinson, Tracey Stierer, Nanhi Mitter, Peter J. Pronovost, Dale M. Needham

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

236 Scopus citations


Purpose: To assess whether obesity is associated with mortality or other adverse intensive care unit (ICU) and post-ICU outcomes. Methods: A meta-analysis of studies from PubMed and EMBASE databases. Results: Twenty-two studies (n = 88,051 patients) were included. Pooled analysis demonstrated no difference in ICU mortality, but lower hospital mortality for obese and morbidly obese subjects (RR 0.76; 95% CI 0.59, 0.92; RR 0.83; 95% CI 0.66, 1.04, respectively) versus normal weight subjects. There was no association between obesity and duration of mechanical ventilation or ICU stay. Morbidly obese versus normal weight patients had longer hospitalizations. No study reported physical function, mental health, or quality of life outcomes after discharge. Conclusions: Obesity is not associated with increased risk for ICU mortality, but may be associated with lower hospital mortality. There is a critical lack of research on how obesity may affect complications of critical illness and patient long-term outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1152-1170
Number of pages19
JournalIntensive Care Medicine
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2009


  • Body weight
  • Critical illness
  • Intensive care
  • Meta-analysis
  • Mortality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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