A study found that excessive belly fat leads to the risk of complication and death after the emergency surgery. Researchers included 600 patients who underwent the surgery and CT scans of pelvic and abdomen before their surgery. The CT scan included the measure of belly fat and waist to hip ratio. According to the World Health Organization, the healthy ratio is not supposed to exceed .85 in women and .90 in men.
During the study, it was found that nearly 70% of the patients had an unhealthy waist to hip ratio which is equal to 1 or sometimes higher than 1 in a few cases.
“Our main goal is to identify those at risk for developing complications so we can intervene appropriately and improve the health care delivered,” said study lead author Dr. Faisal Jehan, a research fellow in the department of surgery at the University of Arizona, Tucson.
It was found that the death rate was 4%, complication rate was 33%, hospital stay was 4 days and 30 days hospital readmission rate was 25%. With excessive belly fat, the hospital stay was more than double and readmission rate was 32.5% and people without excessive belly fat, it had 7% rate.
“Based on the waist-to-hip ratio, we can predict whether these patients are high-risk and then take precautions to keep these patients on the radar. For example, we can call them in for postoperative examinations to check on them early and quickly, and if they do develop complications, we can quickly move them into the ICU so that we can take care of those complications,” Jehan explained in an ACS news release.
According to the researchers, BMI is not a great tool as compared to the waist to hip ratio in calculating risk.
“The Body mass index (BMI) has traditionally been used in hospitals to predict adverse outcomes such as heart attacks, but one of the problems with BMI is that it doesn’t take into account body fat distribution,” Jehan said. “The waist-to-hip ratio, however, specifically targets the concentration of visceral fat, which is the dangerous type surrounding abdominal organs,” he said.
The people who need emergency surgery need to get a CT scan done to calculate the waist to hip ratio. If it has not been done, they can also use a measuring tape to calculate this ratio, the researchers said.