Thromb Res. 2022 Jan 20;211:63-69. doi: 10.1016/j.thromres.2022.01.016. Online ahead of print.
Obesity is associated with cardiovascular complications such as diabetes and hypertension. However, obesity and high body mass index (BMI) can also be linked to improved clinical outcomes in certain patient populations. This counterintuitive observation is called the "obesity paradox." The effect of BMI on the risk of developing venous thromboembolism (VTE) in acutely ill medical patients remains unclear. In the Acute Medically Ill VTE Prevention with Extended Duration Betrixaban (APEX) trial, acutely ill hospitalized medical patients were randomized to receive either extended-duration betrixaban or shorter-duration enoxaparin and followed for 77 days. A total of 7372 patients with evaluable VTE endpoints had BMI measured at baseline. The association between BMI and VTE risk was assessed after adjusting for potential confounders. The multivariable adjusted ORs of VTE risk associated with BMI levels referencing the median BMI value (15, 18.5, 28.3 [reference], 35, 40, 45) were: 2.82 (95% CI, 1.32-6.04, [change from 28.3 to 15]), 1.85 (95% CI, 1.14-2.99, [change from 28.3 to 18.5]), 1.30 (95% CI, 1.04-1.63, [change from 28.3 to 35]), 1.13 (95% CI, 0.84-1.52, [change from 28.3 to 40]), and 0.91 (95% CI, 0.57-1.47, [change from 28.3 to 45]), respectively (p = 0.022). In conclusion, acutely ill hospitalized patients with lower BMI had a higher VTE risk through 77 days, which appears to be a manifestation of the BMI paradox.