Roughly 3,000 people in the United States are on the heart transplant waiting list at any given time, a statistic made even worse by the fact that many transplant centers flat-out reject hearts from obese donors.
According to new research published in Circulation: Heart Failure, however, heart transplants from severely obese donors result in outcomes similar to those from healthier donors.
The study’s authors assessed the outcomes of 26,000 heart transplants, relying on the United Network for Organ Sharing database. All procedures occurred from 2003 to 2017, and 3.5% of all donors were severely obese, which was defined as a BMI equal or greater to 40.
Overall, 10% of the severely obese donors had diabetes, up from 3% of non-obese donors. Also, 33% of obese donors had hypertension, double the percentage of non-obese donors.