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Obesity causing more deaths during surgery

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 22/11/2016

Obesity is contributing to an increasing proportion of deaths on the operating table, a New Zealand and Australian report has found.

Released by the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, the audit includes reviews into 23,292 deaths in the two countries from January 1, 2009, to December 31, 2015.

Audit chair Professor Guy Maddern said the college of surgeons' warning in October that an obesity epidemic among children was already upon us had been backed by the audit's results.

He said obesity as a contributing factor in deaths on the operating table had doubled from 2 per cent in 2009 to 4 per cent by 2015.

"Obese patients are much more likely to present with multiple comorbidities, and as a result are at greater risk of experiencing complications or adverse outcomes during and after surgery," he said.

"Obesity still ranks behind other comorbidities in terms of its prevalence but the increase shown in the audit is noteworthy."

The annual audit also recommended post-operative infection controls be improved following a three per cent rise in cases over the last two years.

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