Physicians underdiagnose and undertreat obesity in ischemic heart disease patients: Data from the HOLEM study group

Eyal Leibovitz, Yariv Gerber, Maximo Maislos, Efrat Wolfovitz, Tova Chajek-Shaul, Eran Leitersdorf, Uri Goldbourt, Dror Harats, Ofer Yodfat, Hofit Cohen, Rafael Bitzur, Daniela Marko, Smadar Truman, Neta Perelstein, Rachel Avner, Esfir Ulman, Michael Negodetzky, Sagit Cahlon, Hagit Shany, Hadass FaraghI. Gerald Brook, Peter Bartha, Iyad Khamaysi, Bella Smolin, Bullman Nina, Majdy Halabi, Avegael Segal, Malka Fuchs, Olga Gotsman, Eti Butbul, Osnat Eliav

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: Obesity is an independent risk factor for ischemic heart disease and affects the status of other risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Objective: To study the attitude of physicians to obesity by examining discharge letters of overweight patients with ischemic heart disease. Methods: We used the HOLEM database for this analysis. The HOLEM project was designed to study the NCEP (National Cholesterol Education Program) guideline implementation among patients with IHD at hospital discharge. We documented the recording of risk factors and treatment recommendations for IHD by reviewing the discharge letters of 2994 IHD patients admitted to four central hospitals in Israel between 1998 and 2000. A follow-up visit was held 6-8 weeks after discharge, at which time the diagnosis of IHD was verified, risk factor status was checked, height and weight were measured and drug treatment was reviewed. Results: Mean body mass index was 28.3 kg/m2 and 32% were obese (BMI ≥ 30 kg/m2). Only 39.6% of the obese patients and 65.8% of the morbidly obese patients (BMI ≥ 40 kg/m2) had "obesity" noted in their discharge letters, and weight loss recommendation was written in only 15% of the obese patients' discharge letters. Acute episodes like acute myocardial infarction and unstable angina did not influence the notation of obesity, and only BMI and the number of additional risk factors were positively correlated with the notation of this risk factor. Conclusions: Despite the importance of obesity, weight status was not noted and weight loss was not recommended in most of the discharge letters of obese IHD patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)553-557
Number of pages5
JournalIsrael Medical Association Journal
Issue number8
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Ischemic heart disease
  • Obesity
  • Physicians
  • Quality assurance
  • Risk factors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (all)


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