Cath Labs Turn Patients Away if They are Too Obese


July 31, 2008

July 31, 2008 – A survey of cardiovascular catheterization laboratories in the U.S. found obese patients who weigh more than the cath lab’s equipment limits are referred to other facilities at 22 percent of those surveyed, but 70 percent could not answer the question.

The telephone survey results were published this week in the Aug. 1 issue of the American Journal of Cardiology.

The survey was performed to determine the current weight limits of 94 cath labs in the U.S. The minimum weight limit was 350 pounds, the mean limit was 437.5 pounds, and maximum weight limit was 550 pounds.
If a patient does exceed the weight limit of the cath lab’s table, 21 facilities said they referred the patient to other institutions. However, 66 respondents could not provide an answer. The survey showed in this population, 5.2 ± 3.4 patients/hospital/year were rejected for being over the weight limit.

The authors, Thomas E. Vanhecke, M.D., Aaron D. Berman, M.D., Peter A. McCullough, M.D., MPH, of the division of cardiology, department of internal medicine, William Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak, MI, hope the results provide useful information for the future management of the growing obese population.

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