Excess weight at time of presentation of myocardial infarction is associated with lower initial mortality risks but higher long-term risks including recurrent re-infarction and cardiac death

Anil Nigam, R. Scott Wright, Thomas G. Allison, Brent A. Williams, Stephen L. Kopecky, Guy S. Reeder, Joseph G. Murphy, Allan S. Jaffe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

69 Scopus citations


Objectives: To evaluate the influence of elevated body mass index (BMI) on short- and long-term survival following acute myocardial infarction (AMI). Background: Recent studies suggest an obesity survival paradox in individuals undergoing percutaneous coronary intervention with better 30-day and 1-year outcomes in obese relative to normal weight patients. We tested a similar obesity paradox hypothesis following acute myocardial infarction. Methods: Short- and long-term all-cause mortality, and risk of recurrent AMI were evaluated according to BMI status in 894 consecutive survivors of AMI < 80 years of age admitted to the Mayo Clinic Coronary Care Unit between January 1, 1988 and April 16, 2001. Normal weight, overweight and obesity were defined as BMI < 25, 25-29.9, and > 30 kg/m2, respectively. Results: Overall mortality following hospital discharge was significantly lower in overweight and obese patients and was mostly attributable to lower 6-month mortality (adjusted HR = 0.47, P = 0.01 for BMI > 25 kg/m2) relative to normal weight patients, while long-term mortality among 6-month survivors was similar in all 3 groups. The risk of recurrent AMI was higher in patients with BMI > 25 kg/m2 (adjusted HR = 2.30, P = 0.01). Overweight and obese patients were significantly more likely to die from cardiac rather than non-cardiac causes (P < 0.01). Conclusions: Following AMI, overweight and obese individuals although paradoxically protected from short-term death have a long-term mortality risk that is similar to normal weight individuals. Younger age at the time of initial infarction and fewer non-cardiovascular comorbidities presumably explain the short-lived obesity survival paradox following myocardial infarction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)153-159
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Cardiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 16 2006



  • Acute myocardial infarction
  • Body mass index
  • Obesity paradox

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

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