Impact of body mass index on survival of medical patients with sepsis: a prospective cohort study in a university hospital in China

A single-centre prospective cohort study conducted from May 2015 to April 2017. 

A tertiary care university hospital in China. 

A total of 178 patients with sepsis admitted to the medical intensive care unit (ICU) were included. 

The primary outcome was 90-day mortality while the secondary outcomes were in-hospital mortality, length of ICU stay and length of hospital stay. 

The median age (IQR) was 78 (66-84) years old, and 77.0% patients were older than 65 years. The 90-day mortality was 47.2%. The in-hospital mortality was 41.6%, and the length of ICU stay and hospital stay were 12 (5-22) and 15 (9-28) days, respectively. Cox proportional hazard regression analysis identified that Sequential Organ Failure Assessment score (HR=1.229, p<0.001), Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation II score (HR=1.050, p<0.001) and BMI (HR=0.940, p=0.029) were all independently associated with the 90-day mortality. Patients were divided into four groups based on BMI (underweight 33 (18.5%), normal 98 (55.1%), overweight 36 (20.2%) and obese 11 (6.2%)). The 90-day mortality (66.7%, 48.0%, 36.1% and 18.2%, p=0.015) and in-hospital mortality (60.6%, 41.8%, 30.6% and 18.2%, p=0.027) were statistically different among the four groups. Differences in survival among the four groups were demonstrated by Kaplan-Meier survival analysis (p=0.008), with the underweight patients showing a lower survival rate. 

BMI was an independent factor associated with 90-day survival in a Chinese cohort of medical patients with sepsis, with patients having a lower BMI at a higher risk of death.