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PLOS Science Wednesday: Hi Reddit, my name is Emily Bucholz and I published a study in PLOS Medicine studying the impacts of being underweight after a heart attack, Ask Me Anything!
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Hi Reddit, My name is Emily Bucholz. I am a pediatric resident at Boston Children’s Hospital but did my doctorate at Yale School of Medicine. My doctoral research focuses on sociodemographic and clinical predictors of life expectancy after heart attacks. I am particularly interested in how risk factors for the development of coronary heart disease affect long-term survival after heart attacks. I am the lead author of a study recently published in PLOS Medicine titled “Underweight, Markers of Cachexia, and Mortality in Acute Myocardial Infarction: a Prospective Cohort Study of Elderly Medicare Beneficiaries”. In this study, we studied over 50,000 Medicare beneficiaries to examine the effect of underweight on survival after heart attack. We used two techniques (adjustment and stratification) to disentangle the effects of low weight from comorbidity and frailty, which can also lead to weight loss and poor health outcomes. We found that being underweight was an independent risk factor for higher short- and long-term mortality after heart attack. There are several potential explanations for these findings including decreased physiologic reserve, lower rates of guideline-based therapies, and genetic predisposition. Regardless of the mechanism, we conclude that strategies to promote weight gain after heart attack – both in the hospital and after discharge –are worthy of testing. My co-authors were Ms. Hannah Krumholz and Dr. Harlan Krumholz. I will be answering your questions at 1pm ET – Ask Me Anything!