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Pulmonary Complications of the Morbidly Obese Patient Admitted to the Medical Intensive Care Unit

Moore, Michael MD

Clinical Pulmonary Medicine: March 2008 - Volume 15 - Issue 2 - p 97-105
doi: 10.1097/CPM.0b013e3181677008
Critical Care/Respiratory Care

Obesity represents a growing epidemic in the United States. As the population ages and prevalence of obesity increases, the number of obese people admitted to the medical intensive care unit (MICU) will likely increase. Morbid obesity has important physiologic and pathophysiologic effects on organ function, particularly the pulmonary, cardiac, and renal systems. Management of critical illness in the morbidly obese offers many challenges. A brief case presentation highlights some of these difficulties. It remains controversial if morbid obesity increases or decreases mortality among critically ill patients.

As the population ages and prevalence of obesity increases, the number of obese people admitted to the medical intensive care unit (MICU) will likely increase. An understanding of the interaction between common comorbidities and the organ system based pathophysiology of morbid obesity is essential in the management of this growing and understudied population of patients thought to be at increased risk of morbidity and mortality during critical illness.

From the Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, Chicago, Illinois.

Address correspondence to: Michael Moore, MD, McGaw 2-2300, 240 East Huron Street, Chicago, IL 60657. E-mail: m-moore5@northwestern.edu.

© 2008 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.