Archive February 2019 XX, No. 2

A Weighty Problem

Over half of all Americans are overweight or obese. Here's how to keep them safe

Joe Paone

Joe Paone


OBESITY IN THE OR The rise in obesity presents significant challenges to surgical facilities from financial, clinical and even ethical perspectives.

In turning away patients who are above a certain BMI, is your cutoff a sliding scale that edges outward as the obesity epidemic worsens? You're hardly alone if what started as a BMI limit of 35 has creeped up to 40, to 45 and even ballooned to 50. You're under more pressure to accommodate overweight patients, but the stakes in accepting them are high. Let's examine 10 keys to doing so safely.

1. Where to draw the line on BMI?

BMI cutoffs can range from 35 to 50, with some facilities balancing BMI with the presence of one or more comorbidities, and others requiring discretionary approval of patients above certain BMIs by directors, surgeons and anesthesia providers.

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