Short People More Likely To Die In ICU
The study, published in the journal Intensive Care Medicine on Dec. 23, show that shorter patients in ICUs are more likely to die during treatment compared with taller patients.
Hannah Wunsch, from Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto, and colleagues looked at the data of patients who were admitted to 210 ICUs in the United Kingdom between 2009 and 2015.
They found that among more than 400,000 critically ill patients, the shortest ones who stood 4 feet and 6 inches were more likely to die in the hospital compared with the tallest ones who stood 6 feet and 6 inches
The risk of dying in the shortest male patients was 29 percent higher than that of the tallest patients. In female patients, the death risk was 24 percent higher.
Not A Causal Link
The study did not prove that height was responsible for the increase in deaths, but the two appear to be linked.
Wunsch said that the study was launched because ICUs usually base their treatment on patients of average weight and height. She said that there are devices and tubes put into patients that only come in one size or cannot accommodate different sizes.
Wunsch and colleagues thought that these could have an effect on patient care.
"Sure enough, we found that even after we accounted for other factors that we know account for someone dying in the hospital, there was a pretty strong relationship between the height of an individual and their mortality," Wunsch said.
Differences in treatment may account for the results, but the researchers did not find any difference in death among patients on mechanical ventilators, which need to be adjusted to the height of a patient.
Findings Not Conclusive Enough
Mark Astiz, chairman of critical care medicine at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, who was not involved in the study, said that findings are not conclusive enough to make changes to clinical practice.
He said that the results need to be confirmed, and there should be an investigation into the characteristics of the patients that may contribute to the differences in survival odds.