Abdominal Obesity May Affect Risks in Heart Patients

Increasing waist-to-hip ratio predicts heart failure hospitalizations and cardiovascular events
By Rick Ansorge
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Sept. 28 (HealthDay News) -- In patients with stable coronary heart disease, abdominal obesity independently predicts heart failure hospitalization and recurrent cardiovascular events, according to a study in the Oct. 1 issue of the American Journal of Cardiology.

Christian Spies, M.D., of the Queen's Medical Center in Honolulu, and colleagues measured the waist-to hip ratio and body mass index in 979 outpatients. During a mean follow-up of 4.9 years, 128 (13 percent) of subjects were hospitalized for heart failure and 152 (16 percent) had a heart attack, stroke, or coronary heart disease-related death.

After adjusting for potential confounders, the researchers found that each standard deviation increase in the waist-to-hip ratio was associated with an increased risk of heart failure hospitalization and cardiovascular events (adjusted hazard ratios, 1.6 and 1.3, respectively). They also found that body mass index was not associated with either of these increased risks.

"Several previous studies have demonstrated that the waist-to-hip ratio is more strongly associated with traditional cardiovascular risk factors, and a better predictor of adverse cardiovascular events and death, than the body mass index," the authors write. "Our study has extended these findings by demonstrating that the waist-to-hip ratio is also a stronger predictor of heart failure hospitalization than the body mass index."

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