Body Size Matters After Bypass

Fact that women are smaller than men may explain higher death rate, study shows

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TUESDAY, Aug. 30, 2005 (HealthDay News) -- Smaller body size is a major reason why women are at higher risk than men of dying after coronary artery bypass graft surgery, according to a report in the annual Cardiovascular Surgery Supplement of Circulation.

"Women undergoing bypass surgery have a death rate about twice as high as men," study author Dr. Ron Blankstein, a cardiology fellow at the University of Chicago Hospitals, said in a prepared statement. "Our study shows that body surface area, or body size, is a very important independent predictor for mortality on top of all the other risk factors."

Smaller bodies have smaller coronary arteries, making surgery more technically difficult, Blankstein hypothesized.

Researchers reviewed data on 15,440 patients who underwent the surgery at 31 midwestern hospitals in 1999 and 2000. They found that after controlling for other risk factors, body surface area -- a measure of body size based on a person's height and weight -- helped explain a large part of women's higher death rate.

More information

The National Institutes of Health has more about heart bypass surgery.

SOURCES: American Heart Association, news release, Aug. 29, 2005

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