(HealthDay News) – For both women and men with advanced heart failure, having a high body mass index (BMI) or waist circumference (WC) is associated with a reduced risk of adverse outcomes.

To investigate the role of obesity in the outcomes of men and women with heart failure, Adrienne L. Clark, from the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California Los Angeles, and colleagues followed a cohort of 2,718 patients with heart failure who had their BMI measured at baseline and 469 patients who had their WC measured.

The researchers found that, for men, the two-year event-free survival was better for high versus normal BMI and WC (63.2 vs. 53.5% and 78.8 vs. 63.1%, respectively). For women, high vs. normal BMI was associated with improved two-year event-free survival (67.1 vs. 56.6%), but survival was similar for high and normal WC. In multivariate analysis, for men and women, normal BMI and WC correlated with increased relative risk in the primary outcome of death, urgent heart transplantation, or ventricular assist device placement.

“In our study of patients with advanced systolic heart failure, obesity as indexed by high BMI and high WC was associated with better outcomes in men and women,” the authors write. “To our knowledge, our study is the first to specifically demonstrate that the obesity paradox in terms of BMI and WC is applicable to men and women with heart failure.”

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