15 June 2015
Researchers at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia have discovered a mechanism that should help to better understand why obese patients are at a higher risk of suffering severe respiratory failure.
Around seven per cent of all intensive care unit patients will have fluid enter their lungs, which caused a 30 to 50 per cent chance of death because of a condition called acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS).
Using models of ARDS, the team identified a mechanism that appears to explain why being significantly overweight increases this risk.
The findings, published online in Scientific Reports, suggest that obese patients experience a biologically different disease than their non-obese counterparts, while they could also point to a new treatment method for ARDS.
Dr Ross Summer, associate professor of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine and researcher at the Center for Translational Medicine and at the Jane and Leonard Korman Lung Center at Thomas Jefferson University, said the study needs to be confirmed in humans but could suggest new therapies for obese patients.
Along with his team, Dr Summer found that obese blood vessels, which deliver nutrients to the lungs, were poised for creating the fluid-filled, inflammatory environment seen in ARDS patients.
Posted by Phillip Briggs
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