Body mass index and outcomes of in-hospital ventricular tachycardia and ventricular fibrillation arrest

American Heart Association's Get With The Guidelines®-Resuscitation Investigators

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Background: Due to higher transthoracic impedance, obese patients may be less likely to be successfully defibrillated from ventricular tachycardia or ventricular fibrillation (VT/VF) arrest. However, the association between patient body mass index (BMI), defibrillation success, and survival outcomes of VT/VF arrest are poorly understood. Methods: We evaluated 7110 patients with in-hospital VT/VF arrest at 286 hospitals within the Get With The Guidelines®-Resuscitation (GWTG-R) Multicenter Observational Registry between 2006 and 2012. Patients were categorized as underweight (BMI < 18.5 kg/m2), normal weight (BMI 18.5-24.9 kg/m2), over-weight (BMI 25.0-29.9 kg/m2), obese (BMI 30.0-34.9 kg/m2), and extremely obese (BMI ≥ 35.0 kg/m2). Using generalized linear mixed regression, we determined the risk-adjusted relationship between BMI and patient outcomes while accounting for clustering by hospitals. The primary outcome was successful first shock defibrillation (a post-shock rhythm other than VT/VF) with secondary outcomes of return of spontaneous circulation, survival to 24 h, and survival to discharge. Results: Among adult patients suffering VT/VF arrest, 304 (4.3%) were underweight, 2061 (29.0%) were normal weight, 2139 (30.1%) were overweight, and 2606 (36.6%) were obese or extremely obese. In a risk-adjusted analysis, we observed no interaction between BMI and energy level for the successful termination of VT/VF with first shock. Furthermore, the risk-adjusted likelihood of successful first shock termination of VT/VF did not differ significantly across BMI categories. Finally, when compared to overweight patients, obese patients had similar risk-adjusted likelihood of survival to hospital discharge (odds ratio 0.786, 95% confidence interval 0.593-1.043). Conclusions: There was no significant difference in the likelihood of successful defibrillation with the first shock attempt among different BMI categories.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)156-160
Number of pages5
StatePublished - Aug 1 2016


  • Cardiac arrest
  • First shock success
  • Index event
  • Obesity
  • Resuscitation
  • Shockable rhythm

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine
  • Emergency
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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