Heart, Lung and Circulation
Abstract| Volume 17, SUPPLEMENT 1, S16, 2008

Autopsy objective measures of obesity: A pilot study of the correlation of adipose stores to sudden cardiac death

      The epidemic of obesity affecting the westernised world is fast becoming a primary health problem for most industrialised nations. There has been some work examining objective measures of obesity as a guide to clinical management. The purpose of this study was to correlate objective measurements of adipose stores with assessments of cardiovascular pathology and cause of death amongst individuals who die suddenly. Data were collected prospectively upon registration in a forensic unit of decedents who died suddenly and unexpectedly. Exclusion criteria were applied to ensure a population in whom all of the measures of obesity could be determined safely and then careful assessment of cardiovascular findings was examined. Correlation with histological findings and the final cause of death will be offered. There were 37 cases who met the inclusion and exclusion criteria, resulting in a distribution of 25 males and 12 females (2:1). The average age was 52.8 years (15–87), average weight 83.8 kg (39–147), average height 171 cm (147–191), average abdominal circumference (AC) 93.7 cm (66–138), average hip circumference (HC) 100.3 cm (69–134), average thigh circumference (TC) 50.3 cm (35.5–65), and average heart weight 471.9 g (213–837). Thirteen of the deaths had a cardiac cause of death. The remainder had causes of death not related to cardiac pathology. The objective measurements of obesity seemed to correlate reasonably well with heart weight but not with severity of coronary artery disease.
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