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Heavier Patients Visiting Cardiac Catheterization Labs

This creates logistical and safety challenges

WEDNESDAY, July 30 (HealthDay News) -- Patients weighing as much as 550 pounds are now being seen in cardiovascular catheterization laboratories, creating logistical and safety challenges, according to a study in the Aug. 1 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Thomas E. Vanhecke, M.D., from William Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Mich., and colleagues conducted a telephone survey of nurse managers at 94 cardiovascular catheterization laboratories in the United States to determine their current weight limits.

The researchers found that the mean weight limit was 198.9 kilograms (range 160 kilograms to 250 kilograms), or 437.5 pounds (range 350 pounds to 550 pounds). Twenty-two percent of respondents said they referred patients who were too heavy to other institutions, and 70 percent could not provide an answer. A mean of 5.2 patients per hospital per year were rejected for being over the weight limit.

"These current trends (in obesity) have created an entirely new set of logistical and safety challenges for health care providers in the provision of cardiovascular health care to patients who exceed the weight limits of the angiography suite," Vanhecke and colleagues write. "In conclusion, these results provide useful information for the future management of this growing population," they write.

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