Symposium to Address Role of Obesity in Critical Illness

Michael Shashaty, MD, MSCE

Michael Shashaty, MD, MSCE

With nearly a third of the U.S. population considered obese, the challenges of obesity affect nearly every aspect of medicine.

“Obesity in Critical Illness: Management, Outcomes, and Novel Pathophysiologic Concepts” will present another perspective on the condition from 2 to 4:30 p.m. Wednesday in the Terrace Ballroom III (400 Level) of the convention center.

Michael G.S. Shashaty, MD, MSCE, Philadelphia; John P. Kress, MD, Chicago; and Renee D. Stapleton, MD, PhD, Burlington, Vt., will moderate the symposium.

“We thought a session that reviewed a range of obesity topics in critical illness would be pertinent because there have been quite a number of publications recently,” said Dr. Shashaty, instructor of medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. “We intend to take a body of often conflicting literature published in the last 10 to 15 years and make sense of it.”

Following the session, attendees should be able to understand the substantial, and often conflicting, epidemiologic data regarding obesity in critical illness, including organ dysfunction, survival, resource utilization, and long-term outcomes.

The symposium also will address the potential molecular roles of adipose tissue in the acute and chronic response to critical illness and how these may explain epidemiologic findings. Attendees will be able to apply the available evidence and physiologic concepts to the management of obese ICU patients, with a focus on nutrition and mechanical ventilation.

“In designing the symposium, we tried to make it as well-rounded as possible,” Dr. Shashaty said. “We wanted it to appeal both to investigators who are interested in the study of obesity and critical illness, and to clinicians who are looking for management pearls for obese patients, and an understanding of the pathophysiology underlying what we see clinically.”

Presentations include the following:

  • “The Obesity Paradox: More Organ Injury, Less Death?” by Dr. Shashaty
  • “Role of Cellular and Molecular Adipose Changes in Chronic Critical Illness,” by Greet Van den Berghe, MD, PhD, Leuven, Belgium
  • “Obesity-Related Alterations in the Immune Response to Critical Illness: Lessons from the Bench,” by Benjamin T. Suratt, MD, Burlington, Vt.
  • “Obesity Studies and the Challenge of Translational Research: Perspective of a Clinical Investigator,” by David J. Lederer, MD, New York
  • “Understanding Respiratory Physiology and Ventilator Mechanics in the Obese Patient,” by Dr. Kress
  • “Nutrition for the Obese Critically Ill Patient,” by Dr. Stapleton
  • “How Big is the Obesity Problem? Studying Cost, Resource Utilization, and Long-Term Outcomes,” by Hallie C. Prescott, MD, Ann Arbor, Mich.