Goals of Care, Critical Care Utilization and Clinical Outcomes in Obese Patients Admitted under General Medicine

Andy K.H. Lim, Greasha K. Rathnasekara, Priyanka Kanumuri, Janith K. Malawaraarachchi, Zheng Song, Claire A. Curtis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Obesity is associated with long-term morbidity and mortality, but it is unclear if obesity affects goals of care determination and intensive care unit (ICU) resource utilization during hospitalization under a general medicine service. In a cohort of 5113 adult patients admitted under general medicine, 15.3% were obese. Patients with obesity were younger and had a different comorbidity profile than patients who were not obese. In age-adjusted regression analysis, the distribution of goals of care categories for patients with obesity was not different to patients who were not obese (odds ratio for a lower category with more limitations, 0.94; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.79–1.12). Patients with obesity were more likely to be directly admitted to ICU from the Emergency Department, require more ICU admissions, and stayed longer in ICU once admitted. Hypercapnic respiratory failure and heart failure were more common in patients with obesity, but they were less likely to receive mechanical ventilation in favor of non-invasive ventilation. The COVID-19 pandemic was associated with 16% higher odds of receiving a lower goals of care category, which was independent of obesity. Overall hospital length of stay was not affected by obesity. Patients with obesity had a crude mortality of 3.8 per 1000 bed-days, and age-adjusted mortality rate ratio of 0.75 (95% CI: 0.49–1.14) compared to patients who were not obese. In conclusion, there was no evidence to suggest biased goals of care determination in patients with obesity despite greater ICU resource utilization.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7267
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Clinical Medicine
Issue number24
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022


  • advanced care plan
  • body mass index
  • COVID-19
  • critical care
  • general medicine
  • goals of care
  • intensive care
  • internal medicine
  • mortality
  • obesity

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