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Body Mass Index of 92,027 patients acutely admitted to general hospitals in Denmark: Associated clinical characteristics and 30-day mortality

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BACKGROUND: Data are sparse on the range of BMI among patients acutely admitted to general hospitals. We investigated BMI values and associated patient characteristics, reasons for hospital admission, and mortality in Denmark.

METHODS: We identified all persons with an acute inpatient admission 2011-2014 in Central Denmark Region and assessed BMI measurements recorded in the Clinical Information System. We used cross-sectional and cohort analyses to examine the BMI distribution and its association with demographic characteristics, comorbidities, medication use, tobacco smoking, reasons for admission, and 30-day mortality.

RESULTS: Among 92,027 acutely admitted patients (median age 62 years, 49% female) with a BMI measurement, 4% had a BMI (kg/m2) <18.5, 42% a BMI between 18.5 and 25, 34% a BMI between 25 and 30, and 20% a BMI ≥30. Compared with normal-weight patients, 30-day mortality was high among patients with BMI <18.5 (7.5% vs. 2.8%, age- and smoking-adjusted odds ratio (aOR) 2.4; 95% confidence interval (CI): 2.0-2.9, whereas patients with overweight (aOR 0.7; 95% CI: 0.6-0.8) and obesity class I (aOR 0.8; 95% CI: 0.6-0.9)). Compared with the total population, patients with BMI <18.5 were older (68 years median); more were female (73%); more had comorbidities (Charlson Comorbidity Index score >0 in 42% vs. 33% overall), more were current smokers (45% vs. 27% overall), and acute admissions due to respiratory diseases or femoral fractures were frequent. In contrast, patients with BMI ≥30 were relatively young (59 years median), fewer smoked (24%): type 2 diabetes, sleep disorders, cholelithiasis, and heart failure were frequent diagnoses. Prevalence of therapies for metabolic syndrome, pain, and psychiatric disorders increased with higher BMI, while patients with BMI <18.5 frequently used asthma medications, glucocorticoids, and antibiotics.

CONCLUSION: In patients acutely admitted to general hospitals, reasons for hospital admission and associated clinical characteristics differ substantially according to BMI range. BMI <18.5 is a clinical predictor of high short-term mortality.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0195853
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - 16 Apr 2018

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