More Imaging Resources Needed for Obese Patients

May 20, 2015

WASHINGTON, DC-More radiology resources necessary for obese patients.

More imaging resources are needed for obese patients, particularly those with sepsis and CHF, according to a presentation at ACR 2015, held this week in Washington, DC.

Researchers from Virginia and Louisiana sought to determine if there was an effect from obesity on the usage of imaging and costs.

The study, which took place from 2008 to 2012, evaluated patients with select medical conditions, such as pneumonia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, acute myocardial infarction, gastrointestinal bleed, sepsis, congestive heart failure (CHF), stroke, lung cancer, lymphoma, pulmonary embolism, and renal stones. The patients were then grouped according to condition and body mass index (BMI), but normalized based on age, sex, and Charlson Comorbidity Index.

The findings showed that radiology costs for all conditions examined in this study, except for renal stones, were more expensive for patients who were obese. “When radiology-associated costs were then analyzed, sepsis and CHF episodes were found to be associated with increased imaging costs in obese patients,” the researchers noted. They went on to further analyze modality used with sepsis and CHF, which indicated that radiography for the two conditions were associated with higher costs in obese patients as compared to patients with normal BMI.

The researchers concluded that it was important to analyze certain populations for their possible increased need for resources. “The negative effects of obesity do not only impact our patients' health but have been shown to increase utilization of healthcare commodities, thereby driving up healthcare costs,” they explained.