Morbid obesity predisposes trauma patients to worse outcomes: A National Trauma Data Bank analysis

Michael Ditillo, Viraj Pandit, Peter Rhee, Hassan Aziz, Steven Hadeed, Bishwajit Bhattacharya, Randall S. Friese, Kimberly Davis, Bellal Joseph

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

65 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: One third of US adults are obese. The impact of obesity on outcomes after blunt traumatic injury has been studied with discrepant results. The aim of our study was to evaluate outcomes in morbidly obese patients after blunt trauma. We hypothesized that morbidly obese patients have adverse outcomes as compared with nonobese patients after blunt traumatic injury. METHODS: We performed a retrospective analysis of all blunt trauma patients (Q18 years) using the National Trauma Data Bank for years 2007 to 2010. Patients with recorded comorbidity of morbid obesity (body mass index Q 40) were identified. Patients transferred, dead on arrival, and with isolated traumatic brain injury were excluded. Propensity score matching was used to match morbidly obese patients to nonYmorbidly obese patients (body mass index > 40) in a 1:1 ratio based on age, sex, Injury Severity Score (ISS), Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS), and systolic blood pressure on presentation. The primary outcome was mortality, and the secondary outcome was hospital complications. RESULTS: A total of 32,780 patients (morbidly obese, 16,390; nonobese, 16,390) were included in the study. Morbidly obese patients were more likely to have in-hospital complications (odds ratio [OR], 1.8, 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.6Y1.9), longer hospital stay (OR, 1.2; 95% CI, 1.1Y1.3), and longer intensive care unit stay (OR, 1.15; 95% CI, 1.09Y1.2). The overall mortality rate was 2.8% (n = 851). Mortality was higher in morbidly obese patients compared with the nonobese patients (3.0 vs. 2.2; OR, 1.4; 95% CI, 1.1Y1.5). CONCLUSION: In a cohort of matched patients, morbid obesity is a risk factor for the development of in-hospital complications and mortality after blunt traumatic injury. The results of our study call for attention through focused injury prevention efforts. Future studies are needed to help define the consequences of obesity that influence outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)176-179
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2014


  • Adverse outcomes in obese patients
  • Mortality in obese patients
  • Obesity
  • Obesity and trauma
  • Trauma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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