Shorter People Are More At Risk Of Dying In Intensive Care

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Shorter People Are More At Risk Of Dying In Intensive Care
Shorter People Are More At Risk Of Dying In Intensive Care

Video: Shorter People Are More At Risk Of Dying In Intensive Care

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Shorter people are more at risk of dying in intensive care

Short stature is associated with an increased risk of death among severely ill patients in intensive care and intensive care units. This is attributed to a number of factors, including the size of the resuscitation equipment and the dose of medication that is designed for taller and heavier people.

Shorter people are more at risk of dying in intensive care
Shorter people are more at risk of dying in intensive care

Photo: Martin Henderson /

Short stature is associated with an increased risk of death among severely ill patients in intensive care and intensive care units. This showed a new British study that analyzed data on 400,000 patients, from 2009 to 2015. Their findings are published in the journal Intensive Care Medicine.

Approximately one in five tall men dies in intensive care, but among men with the smallest height, this figure reaches 29.9%. Among women, the mortality ratio is 17.1% and 24.1%, respectively. In patients of average height, the death rate in intensive care units is 22%.

Experts say shorter patients may be at increased risk because ICUs typically have equipment designed for patients of average height.

Shorter patients are also more likely to receive too much medication, such as sedatives, which can cause drowsiness and eventually cause the patient to stop breathing.

Research has shown that improperly sized breathing tubes can damage the vocal cords in small patients. In addition, a cardiac catheter inserted into a vein can be too long and cause atrial flutter, which can be fatal.

Dr. Hannah Wunsch, who conducted a study in 210 intensive care units in the UK, says that the increased mortality rate of short people in intensive care is not due to one factor, but there are many aspects, each of which contributes to the increase in mortality among short patients.

Part of the reason for the increased mortality of small people may also lie in the fact that a person's short stature can be the result of certain diseases suffered in childhood, for example, cancer and chemotherapy that stunted growth. However, the mortality rate of small patients was higher, even when their age and severity of the disease were taken into account.

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