The obesity paradox and survivors of ischemic stroke

Peter Wohlfahrt, Francisco Lopez-Jimenez, Alena Krajcoviechova, Marie Jozifova, Otto Mayer, Jiri Vanek, Jan Filipovsky, Ernesto M. Llano, Renata Cifkova

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Background Although obesity is a risk factor for stroke and achieving normal weight is advocated to decrease stroke risk, the risk associated with obesity and weight loss after stroke has not been well established. The aim of this study was to assess the association of obesity at the time of stroke admission and weight loss after stroke with total mortality. Methods We analyzed 736 consecutive patients (mean age, 66 ± 11 years; 58% men) hospitalized for their first ischemic stroke. Body weight at hospital admission and at the outpatient visit during follow-up was used in the analysis. Results After multivariate adjustment, obesity at admission was associated with lower mortality risk as compared with normal weight (hazard ratio [HR],.50, P =.03). At the outpatient visit, with a median follow-up time of 16 months, 21% of patients had lost more than 3 kg of weight. Stroke severity, heart failure, transient ischemic attack, and depression after stroke were independently associated with significant weight loss. Weight loss of more than 3 kg was associated with increased mortality risk (HR, 5.87; P =.001) independently of other factors. Similar results were seen when weight loss was defined as losing more than 3% of baseline weight (HR, 4.97; P =.004). Weight gain of more than 5% of the baseline weight tended to be associated with better survival when compared with no weight change (log-rank test, P =.07). Conclusions Normal weight at hospital admission and weight loss after ischemic stroke are independently associated with increased mortality. Overweight and obesity at baseline do not decrease the risk associated with weight loss.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1443-1450
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Stroke and Cerebrovascular Diseases
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2015


  • Ischemic stroke
  • mortality
  • obesity
  • outcome
  • weight loss

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Rehabilitation
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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