HealthDay News — Overweight and obese individuals are at increased risk of sudden cardiac death (SCD) and non-SCD, according to a study published in the Feb. 1 issue of The American Journal of Cardiology.

Antti Eranti, MD, from the Päijät-Häme Central Hospital in Lahti, Finland, and colleagues divided a general population cohort of 10,543 middle-aged subjects into groups of lean, normal-weight, overweight, and obese subjects (body mass index [BMI]: <20.0, 20.0 to 24.9, 25.0 to 29.9, and >30.0 kg/m²). The authors examined the risk for SCD associated with BMI, and the risk of SCD associated with electrocardiographic (ECG) abnormalities across BMI categories.

The researchers found that overweight and obese subjects were at increased risk for SCD (hazard ratios, 1.33 and 1.79, respectively). The correlation with BMI was similar for the risk of non-SCD as for SCD. In groups of lean, normal-weight, overweight, and obese subjects, the hazard ratios associated with ECG abnormalities were 3.03, 1.75, 1.74, and 1.34, respectively; statistical significance was not reached for obese. In the normal-weight group only, ECG abnormalities significantly improved integrated discrimination indexes and continuous net reclassification indexes.

“The overweight and obese are at increased risk for SCD but also for non-SCD, and ECG abnormalities are associated with increased risk of SCD also in normal-weight subjects presenting with less traditional cardiovascular risk factors,” the authors write.

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