Obese patients have much higher odds of developing an infection soon after heart bypass surgery, according to a recent study. The University of Alberta team analyzed data from 56,722 patients in the provincial registry to examine associations between body mass index (BMI) and various outcomes following coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) surgery and percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI), also known as coronary angioplasty. "Compared to patients with normal BMI, we found that patients with BMI greater than 30 were 1.9 times more likely to report infections after bypass surgery," said researcher Tasuku Terada, who recently presented the series of studies at the Canadian Obesity Summit. "A better understanding is needed in order to improve clinical outcomes for patients with obesity and heart disease." In addition, another study in the series published in the Canadian Journal of Cardiology found that 88 percent of patients, who received PCI, were classified as obese, compared to 55 percent of the patients who received CABG. PCI is a non-surgical procedure that opens up narrowed arteries in the heart due to plaque build-up. The physician places a small stent to keep the artery open and help to prevent re-narrowing. Terada noted that the risk of infection following CABG may explain why patients with obesity are more likely to receive PCI. Also Watch: Postsurgical infection means an increase in the length of stay at the hospital for patients, resulting in increased medical costs and use of resources. Knowing the risks and potential outcomes can help health-care providers and patients make more informed choices on treatment and better use of resources. Obesity expert Mary Forhan believes that further investigation will help researchers develop tools to help decrease the risk of infection and to ensure that patients are receiving proper care.