Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Moderate overweight is beneficial and severe obesity detrimental for patients with documented atherosclerotic heart disease
  1. Aziza Azimi1,
  2. Mette Gitz Charlot1,
  3. Christian Torp-Pedersen1,
  4. Gunnar H Gislason1,
  5. Lars Køber2,
  6. Lisette Okkels Jensen3,
  7. Per Thayssen3,
  8. Jan Ravkilde4,
  9. Hans-Henrik Tilsted4,
  10. Jens Flensted Lassen5,
  11. Leif Thuesen5
  1. 1Department of Cardiology, Copenhagen University Hospital Gentofte, Hellerup, Denmark
  2. 2Department of Cardiology, The Heart Centre, Copenhagen University Hospital Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen, Denmark
  3. 3Department of Cardiology, Odense University Hospital, University of southern Denmark, Denmark
  4. 4Department of Cardiology, Aarhus University Hospital Aalborg, Aalborg, Denmark
  5. 5Department of Cardiology, Aarhus University Hospital Skejby, Aarhus, Denmark
  1. Correspondence to Aziza Azimi, Department of Cardiology, Gentofte Hospital, post 635, Niels Andersens Vej 65, Hellerup 2900, Denmark; Aziza.Azimi{at}


Objective Obesity is paradoxically associated with enhanced survival in patients with established cardiovascular disease. We explored this paradox further by examining the influence of obesity on survival in patients with verified atherosclerotic heart disease.

Design and patients This retrospective registry based cohort study included all patients from the Western Denmark Heart Registry with coronary atherosclerosis confirmed by coronary angiography from January 2000 to December 2010. Patients were divided into eight groups according to body mass index (BMI) based on WHO BMI classification.

Setting Department of Cardiology, Copenhagen University Hospital Gentofte, Hellerup, Denmark.

Results The study included 37 573 patients (70.7% men) with a mean age of (66.3±11.1) years. During the 11 years of follow-up, 5866 (15.6%) patients died. Multivariable analysis confirmed that the risk of death was the lowest among the preobese patients (27.5≤BMI<30 kg/m2) with adjusted HR of 0.82 (95% CI 0.71 to 0.95; p=0.008) and increased with both low (BMI<18.50 kg/m2) and very high (BMI≥40 kg/m2) BMI, HR 2.04 (95% CI 1.63 to 2.57; p<0.001) and HR 1.35 (95% CI 1.05 to 1.72; p<0.01), respectively. Also the normal weight class I (18.5≤BMI<23 kg/m2) had a significant risk of mortality HR 1.28 (95% CI 1.13 to 1.45; p<0.001). Obese classes I and II did not differ from the reference group (23≤BMI<25 kg/m2).

Conclusions Overweight atherosclerotic heart disease patients have improved survival compared with normal weight patients. Underweight and severely obese patients have increased mortality. Our results lean more towards an overweight paradox than an obesity paradox.

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.

Linked Articles