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Archive for the ‘Diabetes & Bariatrics’ Category

New recommendations out of a recent conference in Austria as reported by the Heart.org.  This comes on the heels of the most recent changes in BMI recommendations, as we reported last month.

As reported by Steve Stiles over at the Heart.org,  in”Case made for metabolic bariatric-surgery eligibility criteria,”  new evidence and recommendations suggest that surgery should be done earlier in the course of the disease process (diabetes) in patients with lower BMIs.  Currently the BMI restriction criteria enforced in North America and Europe prevent the majority of diabetic patients from receiving gastric bypass surgery, which is the only proven ‘cure’ for diabetes.  That’s because the majority of type II diabetic patients are  overweight but not morbidly obese.

As reported previously on this site, Latin American bariatric surgeons have been at the forefront of the surgical treatment of diabetes.  Many of the surgeons previously interviewed for numerous projects here at Cartagena Surgery were involved in several early studies on the effects of surgery in moderate overweight patients with diabetes.

More interestingly, researchers at the conference are also suggesting possible gastric bypass procedures for patients with ‘pre-diabetes’ or patients with an hemoglobin A1c greater than 5.7 % but less than 6.5% (6.5% is the cut off for diagnosis of diabetes.)

This is wonderful news – it means committees and such are finally getting around to following all of the research that has been published and presented over the last ten years..  But then it just one more important step…

Call it by its name

So I have my own suggestion to doctors and researchers – and it’s one that I’ve made been – a nomenclature change.  We need to stop calling it “pre-diabetes”, because the name is a falsehood – and leads everyone (patients, nurses and doctors astray.)

– Greater than 95% of patients with ‘pre-diabetes’ will develop diabetes – so without a drastic intervention (far beyond diet and exercise)  it’s pretty much a certainty.

– Many of the devastating complications of diabetes develop during this so-called pre-diabetic period.

– Doctors are now recommending surgical treatment to cure this “pre” disease state.

So….  

if almost everyone who has ‘pre-diabetes’ gets diabetes, and it’s already causing damage PLUS we now recommend a pretty radical lifestyle change (surgical removal of most of the stomach) —> that sounds like a disease to me.  Call it early diabetes, call it diabetes with minimal elevation of lab values, but call it what it is….Diabetes..

This is critical because without this firm diagnosis:

insurance won’t pay for glucometers, medications, diabetic education, dietary counseling (or surgery for that matter).  That’s a lot of out-of-pocket expenses for our patients to bear, for something that is treated like a ‘maybe’.

– patients (and healthcare providers) alike won’t take it seriously..  Patients won’t understand how crucial it is to take firm control of glucose management, patients won’t be started on preventative regimens to prevent the related complications like renal failure, heart disease and limb ischemia.

– Patients may not receive important screening to prevent these complications – and we already know that at the time for formal diagnosis (usually SEVEN years after initial glucose derangements are seen) – these patients will already have proteinuria (a sign of kidney disease), retinopathies, vasculopathies and neuropathies..

I work with providers every day, and the sad fact is that too many of them (us) shrug their shoulders and say – yeah – he /she should eat better, get more exercise, shrug.. But they don’t treat the disease – they don’t start checking the glucose more often, they don’t start statin drugs, the don’t screen for heart disease and they don’t consult the specialists – the diabetic educators, the nutritionists, the endocrinologists – and yes, the bariatric surgeons…

Chances are if your doctors and your nurses don’t take it seriously; and don’t make a big deal out of it – and don’t talk to you, at length about what “pre-diabetes” IS and what it really means for your life and your health –

then neither will you.

For related content:  see the Diabetes & Bariatric tab

the Weight of a Nation: the obesity epidemic

Bariatric surgery and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease

The Pros & Cons of Bariatric Surgery

Gastric bypass to ‘cure’ diabetes goes mainstream

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XXIX Congreso Latinoamericano de cirugia vascular y angiologia

Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia

Dr. Berrio, Vascular Surgeon, Tulua, Colombia

Dr. Jhon Jairo Berrio is  the Chief of Vascular Surgery at the Clinica San Francisco, Tulua, Colombia, which is a small community outside of Cali.  He attended medical school in Colombia, completing his general surgery residency at Hospital clinics for Carlos.  He completed additional training at New York University and he completed his vascular surgery residency in Bogota at the Hospital de Kennedy  and trained under the instruction of Dr. Albert Munoz, the current president of the Association of Latin American Vascular Surgery and Angiography (ALCVA) .  He does a range of vascular procedures such as aortic aneurysm repair, fistula creation as well as endovascular surgery but his favorite procedures are limb salvage procedures such as aorto-femoral bypass, femoral-popliteal bypass and other treatments designed to prevent amputation.

He is here in Bolivia giving a presentation on the use of Prostaglandin E1 for critical ischemia / and last chance limb salvage.

Today we are talking to Dr. Berrio about the use of prostaglandin E1 (Iloprost/ iprostadil) for peripheral vascular disease (PAD).  In the past, we have used a myriad of treatments including statins, pentoxifylline, clopidogrel and even quinine for the prevention and relief of claudication symptoms.  However, all of these previous agents are designed for early PAD and are only minimally effective at treating later stages of disease.  Treatment of severe disease (rest pain or ulceration/ ischemia wounds) has been limited to stenting (angioplasty) and surgical revascularization – but this strategy often fails for patients with microvascular disease (or disease that affects vessels that can not be operated on.)

Last effort at Limb Salvage in critical ischemia

No – Prostaglandin E is not some magic ‘panacea’ for peripheral vascular disease.  There is no such thing – but it is a medication in the treatment arsenal for vascular surgeons – and it has shown some promising results particularly in treating limb-threatening ischemia.  In fact, the data goes back over 20 years – even though most people in the United States have never heard of it.  That’s because prostaglandin E1 is more commonly used for other reasons in the USA.  It is a potent vasodilator, and in the US, this medication is often used in a different (aerosolized form) for primary pulmonary hypertension.  It is also used for erectile dysfunction.  Despite a wealth of literature supporting its use for critical ischemia it is not currently marketed for such use in the United States – and thus – must be individually compounded in a hospital pharmacy for IV use.  Supplies of this medication in this form are often limited and costly.

Intravenous Prostaglandin E1

This medication offers a desparately needed strategy for patients with critical ischemia who (for multiple reasons) may not be surgical candidates for revascularization and is a last-ditch attempt to treat ‘dry’ gangrene and prevent amputation and limb loss.  Since more than 25% of all diabetes will undergo amputation due to this condition – this is a critical development that potentially affects millions of people.  (Amputations also lead to high mortality for a variety of reasons not discussed here.)

What is Prostaglandin E1?

As mentioned above, prostaglandin E1 is a potent vasodilator – meaning it opens up blood vessels by forced the vessels to dilate.  This brings much-needed blood to ischemia tissue (areas of tissue dying due to lack of blood.)

Treatment details:

A full course of treatment is 28 days.  Patients receive 60 micrograms per day by IV.

Patients must be admitted to the hospital for observation for the first intravenous administration of prostaglandin E1.  While side effects such as allergic reactions, rash or tachycardia are rare – since this medication is given as an IV infusion, doctors will want to observe you for the first few treatments. The most common side effect is IV irritation.  If this occurs the doctors will stop the infusion and dilute it further to prevent discomfort.  Once your treatment has been established, doctors may arrange for you to have either out-patient therapy at an infusion center, or home health – where a nurse comes to your house to give you the medication.

The surgeons will evaluate your legs before, during and after treatment.  If the ischemia or rest pain are not improving, or worsen during treatment – doctors may discontinue therapy.

Prostaglandin E1 therapy is compatible with other medications for PAD such as clopidogrel, aspirin, pentoxifylline and statins, so you can continue your other medications for PAD while receiving this treatment.  However, if you are taking nitrates such as nitroglycerin, (Nitro-dur, Nitropaste) or medications for pulmonary hypertension or erectile dysfunction – please tell your surgeon.

In Colombia, the average cost of the entire course of treatment (4 weeks of daily therapy) is 12 million Colombian pesos.  At today’s exchange rate – that is  a little under $ 7000.00  (seven thousand dollars, USD).

While this is a hefty price tag – it beats amputation.  In some cases, arrangements can be made with insurance companies to cover some of the costs.  (Insurance companies know that amputation-related costs are higher over the long run, since amputation often leads to a lot of other problems due to decreased mobility).

Additional Information about Dr. Berrio:

Dr. Jhon Jairo Berrio, MD

Vascular surgeon

Calle 414 – 30

Buga, Colombia

Tele: 236 9449

Email: vascular@colombia.com

Speaks fluent English, Espanol.

References/ Additional information about peripheral arterial disease (PAD) and prostaglandin e1

Pharmacotherapy for critical limb ischemia  Journal of Vascular Surgery, Volume 31, Issue 1, Supplement 1, January 2000, Pages S197-S203

de Donato G, Gussoni G, de Donato G, Andreozzi GM, Bonizzoni E, Mazzone A, Odero A, Paroni G, Setacci C, Settembrini P, Veglia F, Martini R, Setacci F, Palombo D. (2006).  The ILAILL study: iloprost as adjuvant to surgery for acute ischemia of lower limbs: a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind study by the italian society for vascular and endovascular surgery.  Ann Surg. 2006 Aug;244(2):185-93.  An excellent read – even for novices.

S Duthois, N Cailleux, B Benosman, H Lévesque (2003).   Tolerance of Iloprost and results of treatment of chronic severe lower limb ischaemia in diabetic patients. A retrospective study of 64 consecutive cases .  Diabetes & MetabolismVolume 29, Issue 1February 2003Pages 36-43

Katziioannou A, Dalakidis A, Katsenis K, Koutoulidis V, Mourikis D. (2012).  Intra-arterial prostaglandin e(1) infusion in patients with rest pain: short-term results.  Scientific World Journal. 2012;2012:803678. Epub 2012 Mar 12.e Note extremely small study size (ten patients).

Strecker EP, Ostheim-Dzerowycz W, Boos IB. (1998).  Intraarterial infusion therapy via a subcutaneous port for limb-threatening ischemia: a pilot study.  Cardiovasc Intervent Radiol. 1998 Mar-Apr;21(2):109-15.

Ruffolo AJ, Romano M, Ciapponi A. (2010).  Prostanoids for critical limb ischaemia.  Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2010 Jan 20;(1):CD006544.

Volteas N, Leon M, Labropoulos N, Christopoulos D, Boxer D, Nicolaides A. (1993).  The effect of iloprost in patients with rest pain.  Eur J Vasc Surg. 1993 Nov;7(6):654-8.

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On the heels of a previous post about NAFLD/ NASH (nonalcoholic liver disease) – Medscape just published new treatment guidelines along was part of an on-going series of articles on  fatty liver disease.

While Medscape is free – it does require a subscription to view, so I’ve re-posted the articles (as downloadable pdfs) here for interested readers.  I would also like to encourage people to sign up with Medscape.com on-line.

Guidelines:

Diagnosis and Management of NAFLD: New Guidelines – David A. Johnson

Summary of new guidelines for treatment of fatty liver disease  – Laurie Barclay

However, there are some concerns related to these new guidelines – primarily the recommendations for Vitamin E and other supplements for biopsy-proven NAFLD.  The biggest concerns relate to the availability and purity of these products.  Caution is advised in the use of unregulated over-the-counter supplements since the purity and efficacy of these products may vary widely.

In the ‘Ask the Experts’ readers ask Dr. William F. Balistreri, MD – Is the Prevalence of NASH Really Rising?   In another article, Dr. Balistreri addresses, How Can I Convince My Patients That NASH Is Serious?

As we’ve discussed before, the incidence of fatty liver disease is on par with the expanding obesity epidemic – and histological evidence of liver disease is apparent in over 70% of bariatric surgery patients (at the time of surgery.)

Now doctors are seeing in younger patients – as the more and more kids become obese. In the article [below] by Helwick,  10% of all adolescents in the USA are estimated to have fatty liver disease.

A Fat Kid With a Fatty Liver: Case Challenge – Valerio Nobili, MD; Massimiliano Raponi, MD

Prevalence of NAFLD Increasing Among American Adolescents -Caroline Helwick

Of course, some of this is old news to long-time readers, who read Charlotte Rabl and Guilherme M. Campos’ article, The Impact of Bariatric Surgery on Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis here at Cartagena Surgery, way back in April 2012 as part of our on-going discussions on bariatric surgery.

This article was just this beginning; with another article published just a few weeks later by Sindu Stephen; Ancha Baranova and Zobair M Younossi.  Their article, Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease and Bariatric Surgery reinforced the idea of bariatric surgery as a reasonable option for obese patients with liver disease.

For everyone looking for information on fatty liver disease, I hope these articles get you started.. Then head over to Medscape for the full library of resources.

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Busy day yesterday – spent the morning shift with Jose Luis Barron over at Mexicali General..  Then raced over to Hospital de la Familia for a couple of general and bariatric cases.

The first case was with the ever charming Drs. Horatio Ham, and Rafael Abril (who we’ve talked about before.)  with the always competent Dr. Campa as the anesthesiologist.   (Seriously – Dr. Campa always does an excellent job.)

Then as we prepared to enter the second case – the director of the hospital asked if I would like to meet Dr. Marco Sarinana G. and his partner, Dr. Joel Ramos..  well, of course.. (Dr. Sarinana’s name has a tilde over the first n – but try coaxing that out this antique keyboard..)

So off to the operating room with these three fellows.  (This isn’t my usual protocol for interviewing surgeons, etc. but sometimes it works out this way.)  Their practice is called Mexicali Obesity Solutions.

Dr. Marco Sarinana and Dr. Joel Ramos, Bariatric surgeons

Dr. Alejandro Ballesteros was the anesthesiologist for the case – and everything proceeded nicely.

After that – it was evening, and time to write everything down!

Today should be another great day – heading to IMSS with Dr. Gabriel Ramos for a big case..

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Update:  New article published on MSNBC –  25 May –underscores health benefits of coffee –  and further proves premise of optimal coffee ingestion at five to six cups.  (Previous studies showed the majority of benefits at five cups/ day.)

Posting this for a friend, who wasn’t quite convinced by my arguments for coffee..  Added the video just for a light-hearted touch..and who doesn’t like David Bowie..

Happily,  the majority of people have gotten away from the incorrect notion that coffee is somehow harmful, the “I gave up cigarettes and coffee” mentality.. It always irks me a bit when coffee drinking is lumped into a group of unhealthy behaviors….Stay away from coffee… and crack cocaine, people… But seriously, this is one beverage that has been mislabeled over the years – undeservedly.

With so many honest – to-  goodness harmful food additives,  fast food and other ‘junk‘ we put in our bodies – misidentifying coffee is a tragedy (albeit, a small one.)  Admittedly, it is hard on my dental enamel – but otherwise, it is a welcome part of my daily routine.

So today, we are going to review some of our previous posts and the latest published information on coffee and it’s health effects..

For starters, we are going back to a post dated March 2011 – where I first reviewed my love of the hot, rich beverage, along with a summary of health benefits..

We talked about preliminary research suggesting coffee may be protective against strokes.. An additional study on this was actually just published last month, as reported in Medscape.com, Moderate coffee intake protects against stroke, (11 May, 2012) on a meta-analysis presented at the European Society of Hypertension (ESH) European Meeting on Hypertension 2012 by Dr Lanfranco D’Elia. 

Then – a year ago (May 2011) we brought you more information about coffee as a potent anti-oxidant, and potential implications for preventing cancer (and refuting claims that it caused cancer.)

Following that – in July of 2011 – we went as far as proclaiming ‘superfood status’ when preliminary research suggested coffee ingesters were less likely to have MRSA colonization.

We haven’t even touched on the diabetes, and pancreatic cancer angle today, but suffice to say that research shows that the pancreas has a definite affinity for coffee..

Now, on the heels of reports of the underdiagnosis and increasing incidence of fatty liver disease – comes a study in the Annals of Hepatology entitled, “High coffee intake is associated with lower grade nonalcoholic fatty liver disease: the role of peripheral antioxidant activity.”  Translated for readers, this small study by Gutierrez – Grobe, et. al (2012) suggests that high coffee intake is actual beneficial and may have a protective effect on the liver.  Now – don’t get too excited – since it was just a very small study, of 130 subjects – coffee and noncoffee drinkers, 73 without liver disease and 57 with liver disease.  So clearly, we need to look at this more closely..

But in the meantime, you can keep drinking your coffee.

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My first case this morning with another surgeon was cancelled – which was disappointing, but I still had a great day in the operating room with Dr.  Ham and Dr. Abril.  This time I was able to witness a bariatric surgery, so I could report back to all of you.

Dr. Ham (left) and Dr. Abril

I really enjoy their relaxed but detail oriented style – it makes for a very enjoyable case.  Today they performed a sleeve gastrectomy** so I am able to report – that they (Dr. Ham) oversewed the staple line (quite nicely, I might add).  If you’ve read any of the previous books, then you know that this is an important step to prevent suture line dehiscence leading to leakage of stomach contents into the abdomen (which can cause very serious complications.)  As I said – it’s an important step – but not one that every doctor I’ve witnessed always performed.   So I was a pleased as punch to see that these surgeons are as world-class and upstanding as everything I’d seen already suggested..

** as long time readers know, I am a devoted fan of the Roux-en-Y, but recent literature suggests that the sleeve gastrectomy is equally effective in the treatment of diabetes.. Of course – we’ll be watching the research for more information on this topic of debate. I hope further studies confirm these results since the sleeve gives patients just a little less of a drastic lifestyle change.. (still drastic but not shot glass sized drastic.)

Dr. Ham

They invited me to the show this evening – they are having several clowns (that are doctors, sort of Patch Adams types) on the show to talk about the health benefits of laughter.  Sounds like a lot of fun – but I thought I better catch up on my writing..

I’ll be back in the OR with Los Doctores again tomorrow..

Speaking of which – I wanted to pass along some information on the anesthesiologist for Dr. Molina’s cases since he did such a nice job with the conscious sedation yesterday.  (I’ve only watched him just yesterday – so I will need a few more encounters, but I wanted to mention Dr. Andres Garcia Gutierrez all the same.

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There’s a new series on HBO that is a collaboration between the Institute of Medicine, the CDC and the National Institute of Health (NIH) that begins airing tomorrow night.  This is a huge undertaking that took over three years to bring to the screen.

As many of you know – Obesity, diabetes and bariatric surgery are some of the topics that have been covered fairly extensively here at Cartagena Surgery.  In fact – it’s the heart of Cartagena Surgery – since the very first surgeon interview I ever performed back in 2010 was Dr. Francisco Holguin Rueda, MD, FACS, the renown Colombia bariatric surgeon.  (Shortly after that first leap – came Drs. Barbosa and Gutierrez – which is how we ended up here today.)

I’ve also been spending time, both last week and this week in the company of several bariatric surgeons here in Mexicali. MX and plan to go to several surgeries this week – so it seemed only appropriate to publish a few articles on the topic.

Talking with Dr. Horacio Ham – Bariatric surgeon, part 1

Talking with Dr. Ham, part 2

(I’m still transcribing notes from another one of my recent interviews – with Dr. Jose Durazo Madrid, MD, FACS).

I’d also like to encourage readers to take a look at HBO’s new mini-series (four episodes over Monday and Tuesday).

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