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Posts Tagged ‘gastric bypass’

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Free pdf:

Mexicali! a mini-gem guide to surgery in Baja, California

The pdf has been uploaded to Google books, and several other sites.

Low-cost e-format:  I managed to work out a kindle format, but Amazon.com won’t allow independent publishers to offer our books for free (except as part of a limited trial on KDP select.)  However, I have received several emails specifically asking for the Mexicali book to be placed on Amazon.com – so I am reluctantly doing so.  Please note that this e-format version is priced at the minimum – of 99 cents with a free download trial period.  (In case you are wondering, Amazon.com collects 65% of that.)

Update:

Paperback book:  The paperback version of the Mexicali book is now available!  I had hoped to offer a color version (for fans of medical photography) but for small-run books, it was going to be 28.00 a book, which seems excessive to me.  I’ve priced it at just above the cost to produce and offer it on Amazon channels for less than 7.00.

 

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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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Haven’t had time to sit down and write about my trip to the operating room with Dr. Horacio Ham and Dr. Rafael Abril until now, but that’s okay because I am going back again on Saturday for a longer case at a different facility.  Nice surprise to find out that Dr. Octavio Campa was scheduled for anesthesia.  Both Dr. Ham and Dr. Abril told me that Dr. Campa is one their ‘short list’ of three or four preferred anesthesiologists.  That confirms my own impressions and observations and what several other surgeons have told me.

campa

Dr. Campa (left) and another anesthesiologist at Hispano Americano

That evening we were at Hispano – Americano which is a private hospital that happens to be located across the street from the private clinic offices of several of the doctors I have interviewed.  It was just a quick short case (like most laparoscopy cases) – but everything went beautifully.

As I’ve said before, Dr. Campa is an excellent anesthesiologist so he doesn’t tolerate any hemodynamic instability, or any of the other conditions that make me concerned about patients during surgery.

Dr. Ham  and Dr. Abril work well together – everything was according to protocols – patient sterilely prepped and draped, etc..

laparoscopy

laparoscopy with Dr. Ham & Dr. Abril

I really enjoy talking with the docs, who are both fluent in English – but I won’t get more of an interview with Dr. Abril until Saturday.

w/ Dr. Ham

with Dr. Horacio Ham in the operating room after the conclusion of a successful case

Then – on Wednesday night – I got to see another side of the Doctors Ham & Abril on the set of their radio show, Los Doctores.  They were interviewing the ‘good doctor’ on sympathetectomies for hyperhidrosis – so he invited me to come along.

Los Doctores invited me to participate in the show – but with my Spanish (everyone remembers the ‘pajina’ mispronunciation episode in Bogotá, right?)  I thought it was better if I stay on the sidelines instead of risking offending all of Mexicali..

Los Doctores

on the set of Los Doctores; left to right: Dr. Rafael Abril, Dr. Carlos Ochoa, Dr. Mario Bojorquez and Dr. Horacio Ham

It really wasn’t much like I expected; maybe because all of the doctors know each other pretty well, so it was a lot more relaxed, and fun than I expected.  Dr. Abril is the main host of the show, and he’s definitely got the pattern down; charming, witty and relaxed, but interesting and involved too.. (my Spanish surprises me at times – I understood most of his jokes…)  It’s an audience participation type show – so listeners email / text their questions during the show, which makes it interesting but prevents any break in the format, which is nice.  (Though I suppose a few crazy callers now and then would be entertaining.)

Dr. Ochoa did a great talk about sympathectomy and how life changing it can be for patients after surgery, and took several questions.  After meeting several patients pre and post-operatively for hyperhidrosis, I’d have to say that it’s true.  It’s one of those conditions (excessive palmar and underarm sweating) that you don’t think about if you don’t have – but certainly negatively affects sufferers.  I remember an English speaking patient in Colombia telling me about how embarrassing it was to shake hands -(she was a salesperson) and how offended people would get as she wiped off her hands before doing so.  She also had to wear old-fashioned dress shields so she wouldn’t have big underarm stains all the time..  This was in Bogota (not steamy hot Cartagena), which is known for it’s year-round fall like temperatures and incredibly stylish women so you can imagine a degree of her embarrassment.

It (bilateral sympathectomy) is also one of those procedures that hasn’t really caught on in the USA – I knew a couple people in Flagstaff who told me they had to travel to Houston (or was it Dallas?) to find a surgeon who performed the procedure..  So expect a more detailed article in the future for readers who want to know more.

Tomorrow, (technically later today) I head back to San Luis with the good doctor in the morning to see a couple of patients – then back to the hospital.. and then an interview with a general surgeon.. So it should be an interesting and fun day.

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As my loyal readers know, I do my best to try to give fair and balanced depictions of surgical procedures, as well as reviews of medical and surgical news and research.  Over at Medscape.com – there is a new video discussion by Dr. Anne Peters, MD.  Dr. Peters is an endocrinologist and a certified diabetic education.  In this video – she talks about the realities of bariatric surgery, and these are things I think that people need to hear.

For more on Bariatric surgery – see my other posts

One of the points that she makes, is (in my opinion) critical.  While bariatric surgery has been shown to cure diabetes in many individuals – there is no medical/ surgical or other treatment to cure much of the pathology related to the development of obesity in the first place.  Obesity is more than poor dietary and exercise habits – it is a psycho-social and cultural phenomenon as well.

For people who don’t want to go to the Medscape site – I have re-posted a transcript of the video from Medscape.com below.

Bariatric Surgery a ‘Magic Bullet’ for Diabetes?

Anne L. Peters, MD, CDE

Transcript
Hi. I’m Dr. Anne Peters from the University of Southern California. Today I’m going to talk about the role of bariatric surgery in the treatment of type 2 diabetes.

There have been a number of recent studies that show just how good bariatric surgery can be for patients with type 2 diabetes.[1,2] In many cases, it seems to cure type 2 diabetes (at least for now), and I think it is an important tool for treating patients with obesity and diabetes.

However, I also have concerns about bariatric surgery, concerns that go back for years as I watched its increased use. When I was a Fellow, I developed a sense of the benefit of extreme caloric restriction for the treatment of type 2 diabetes. I will never forget the first patient I had, an extremely obese man with type 2 diabetes who was on 200 units of insulin per day. His blood sugar levels remained high no matter what we did. He was a significant challenge in terms of management.

One day, he got sick. I don’t remember how or why he got sick, but he ended up in the hospital and I thought that his management would continue to be incredibly difficult. In fact, it was miraculously easy. Within 2 days, he was completely off of insulin and his blood glucose levels remained normal for the entire time he was in the hospital.

This was only a short-lived benefit, however. After he was discharged, he went back to his old habits. He started eating normally, regained the weight, and went back on several hundred units of insulin per day. But it really impressed me how acute severe caloric restriction could, in essence, treat type 2 diabetes.

I have seen many overweight and obese patients with diabetes over the years, and I have seen the frustration as patients go on drugs (such as insulin) that are weight-gain drugs, and they keep gaining more weight. Although I am a big advocate for lifestyle change, many patients can’t do much better. They can’t lose appropriate amounts of weight by their own will or through weight loss programs, or increase their exercise. Therefore, bariatric surgery remains a reasonable option.

For many of my patients who have a body mass index > 35 and type 2 diabetes, I recommend that they at least consider bariatric surgery. Interestingly, very few of my patients actually go for the procedure and I ponder why this is. In part, I think it’s because of the initial evaluation, when you are told what bariatric surgery is like and how much you have to change your habits after the procedure. Before surgery, you are eating however you want to eat and, although you may be trying to diet, there is no enforcement of that diet. After surgery, you have to change how you eat, the portions you eat, and when you eat. I know that people feel fuller, and this is a lot more than just changing one’s anatomy. I think there are significant changes in gut hormones that regulate appetite and satiety. Nonetheless, it is a big change, and many people don’t want to change their habits that much. I know I would be somewhat leery if I were to undergo a surgical procedure that would change my whole way of being. For lots of people, food has many different associations. It’s not just caloric intake; it’s festival, it’s party, it’s joy, it’s sadness. It’s something people like to do, and it hasn’t a lot to do with just maintaining a positive or neutral caloric balance.

I find that people are reluctant to change, and that is understandable. We also don’t know the long-term complications of the procedure. As an endocrinologist, I see 2 things. First, I tend to get sicker patients, so my patients who are on insulin when they undergo bariatric surgery may not get off insulin entirely. They become very disappointed because they think that bariatric surgery will cure them of their diabetes. I also see patients who are too thin, who are nutritionally deficient, who have severe hypoglycemia, or who have significant issues from the surgery itself. In some cases, these patients have needed a takedown of the surgical procedure, restoring them back to their native anatomy.

I think of bariatric surgery as a tool. It is one of many ways to treat our patients with type 2 diabetes. I am a little concerned because we don’t have long-term follow-up data. I think that all bariatric surgery programs, in addition to doing a very thorough preoperative evaluation and counseling, need to do long-term, lifelong follow-up of these patients to see how they do, to see if their obesity returns. In many cases, this does happen. [Patients need to be followed up] to see what happens to their lipids, their blood pressure, and their blood sugar levels over time, and to monitor for other complications.

I think [bariatric surgery] is something that we need to recommend to our patients, and for those in whom it’s appropriate, it is a reasonable step. This has been Dr. Anne Peters for Medscape.

 References
  1. Mingrone G, Panunzi S, De Gaetano A, et al. Bariatric surgery versus conventional medical therapy for type 2 diabetes. N Engl J Med. 2012 Mar 26. [Epub ahead of print]
  2. Schauer PR, Kashyap SR, Wolski K, et al. Bariatric surgery versus intensive medical therapy in obese patients with diabetes. N Engl J Med. 2012; Mar 26. [Epub ahead of print]

Life after Bariatric Surgery

There is also an excellent article by two nurse practitioners about the long-term interventions and health monitoring needed for wellness promotion and health maintenance after bariatric surgery.  While this article is written for other health care providers – it gives an excellent look at life after bariatric surgery, as well as an overview of the surgical techniques, pre-operative evaluation and anticipated post-operative outcomes.

Thomas, C. M. & Morritt Taub, L. F. (2011).  Monitoring and preventing the long-term sequelae of bariatric surgery.  J of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, 2011, 23 (9).

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A full year after we reported it here (and several years after initially being reported in the literature), mainstream media has finally picked up the story about gastric bypass surgery for the definitive treatment of diabetes.   The story made all of the heavies; the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, and the Los Angeles Times.

Unfortunately, all of these outlets seem unaware of the existing literature in this area – these results while encouraging, are not surprising.  Similar results have been demonstrated in several other (but smaller) studies for the past ten years, which led to previous recommendations (last summer) for the adoption of gastric bypass surgery as a first-line treatment for diabetes in obese patients.

The publication of two new studies showing clear benefits for diabetics undergoing bariatric surgery has brought this news to the forefront.  In both of these studies, diabetic patients were able to stop taking oral glycemics and insulins after surgery within days..

As this front page story from the New York Times notes – these results do not apply to the more widely marketed ‘lap-band.’  This comes to no surprise to dedicated followers at Cartagena Surgery, who have been reading articles on this topic since our site’s inception in late 2010.

You heard it here first.  For more information on this topic, see our tab on Diabetes & Bariatrics under the ‘surgery’ header. We’ve included a small selection from our archives here.

Bariatric surgery headlines – August 2010

Gastric bypass surgery gets the international federation of diabetes approval.

Gastric bypass as treatment for diabetes

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The American Journal of Cardiology just published a new meta-analysis (a study looking at a collection of other studies) that evaluates the effectiveness of bariatric surgery for cardiovascular risk reduction.  As we’ve discussed before, meta-analyses are often used to sort through large numbers of studies to look for trends and weed out aberrant results or poorly designed studies.  (This is particularly helpful when a poorly designed study gives conflicting results in comparison to the rest of the existing studies.) So, we are going to talk a bit more about the meta-analysis.

In this case, the authors started with 637 studies to evaluate, but ended up using the data from only 52 studies involving almost 17,000 patients.  The first step of a meta-analysis is to find every single study even remotely related to your topic. So the authors pulled out, printed and looked at every single study they could find talking about bariatric surgery.

Then the authors start eliminating studies that aren’t relevant to their topic because once you take a closer look; a lot of the studies initially gathered aren’t really related to your topic at all.  (For example: If the authors gathered all studies talking about Bariatric surgery outcomes – on closer examination – a study about the rate of depression in bariatric surgery patients wouldn’t have any information usable to evaluate cardiac risk in these patients.)  Otherwise it would be like comparing apples to oranges.

Once authors have narrowed the pool to studies that are only looking at relevant topics, with measurable results – the authors then examine the studies themselves.  The authors evaluate all aspects of the studies: what is the study design, what does it measure, (is it designed to measure what it is supposed to measure?), what are the results?  (were the results calculated correctly?)  what are the conclusions?  what are the limitations of the study?

Then the authors summarize all of the findings, and draw conclusions based on the results. (if 50 studies involving 16,900 people show one thing – and 2 studies involving 100 people show something completely different – the authors will discuss that.)

The strengths of meta-analyses are that they summarize all of the existing studies out there – and provide readers with fairly powerful results because they involve large numbers of people.

For researchers, meta-analyses are cheap – particularly in comparison to designing, conducting a large-scale study with hundreds or thousands of subjects.  A meta-analysis doesn’t require federal grants or institutional permissions.  It just requires a computer and journal access (along with a good knowledge of study design, statistics).

As you can imagine, the downside of meta-analyses is that they don’t generate NEW knowledge, since they are summaries of other studies.  Meta-analyses are also limited by the AMOUNT of data already published.  If few researchers have written about a topic, then a meta-analysis isn’t very effective or powerful.  (A meta-analysis on three studies involving only 25 total patients, for example).

Now that we’ve discussed the purpose and function of the meta-analysis, let’s discuss the results of Heneghan’s reported results.

Now, readers need to be very careful when reading blogs, and other articles like mine reporting results such as this – because this is filtered, third-hand information by the time it’s published on blogs, or newspaper articles.  (First source is the meta-analysis itself – which as we’ve discussed is actually a summary evaluation of other work).  Secondary is the Medscape article which summarizes and discusses the results of Heneghan’s study.

Now, that means that anything you read here is essentially third-hand information – if it’s based on the Medscape article.  That’s why we provide links to our sources here at Cartagena Surgery – so readers can read it all first-hand.  This is important because just like the children’s game of telephone, as information is passed from source to source, it is edited, filtered and subtly changed (for reasons of space, editorial preference etc.)

heneghan’s meta-analysis results showed significant reductions in weight, blood pressure, cholesterol and hemoglobinA1c (blood glucose levels) after bariatric surgery.  The Framingham risk score (a score developed based on the landmark Framingham study) which predicts the risk of cardiovascular events (heart attacks, strokes) also showed a significant reduction (which would be expected if all the risk factors such as hypertension were improved).

Framingham Risk Score Calculator

Now, a lot of readers might say, “Wait a minute – isn’t this self-evident?  If you lose weight – shouldn’t all of these things (glucose, blood pressure, cholesterol) improve?”

Yes .- logical reasoning suggests that they should – but in medicine we require hard data, in addition to logical reasoning (ie. A should lead to B versus a study with ten thouand patients proving A does lead to B.)

We need to be particularly careful when suggesting or assuming causality from treatments (surgery) for conditions.  A good example of this is liposuction.  Since liposuction involves the removal of subcutaneous fat – and may result a (a small amount) of weight loss – many consumers assumed that this limited weight loss conferred additional health benefits associated with traditional weight loss.  Wrong!

Sucking fat out of your behind (liposuction) will not lower your blood pressure, cholesterol, or blood pressure and does not replace the health benefits of weight loss or exercise.  I can hear readers snickering now – but that’s because of my phrasing.  For years – many people, some health care providers themselves thought that weight loss, any weight loss lead to the above mentioned health benefits, and that included liposuction related weight loss.  It took several studies to disprove this.  So, in medicine – nothing is obvious – until we prove it is obvious!  (Remember: much of what was “obvious” in 1950’s medicine – is now considered absurd.)

Original Research Article Citation:

Heneghan HD, et al “Effect of bariatric surgery on cardiovascular risk profile” Am J Cardiol 2011; DOI:10.1016/j.amjcard.2011.06.076.  (abstract only – article for purchase).

Medpage Summary Article:

Bankhead, C. (2011). Medical News: Bariatric Surgery gets high marks for CVD risk reduction. Medpage Today.

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In a new story by Megan Brooks over at Medscape, “Gastric Bypass Has Advantages in Less Obese Patients” – the latest news from an Orlando conference confirms what cartagena surgery fans already know; that gastric bypass surgery is a viable and effective option in moderately obese patients (particularly patients with diabetes.)  This is encouraging in the continuing battles between patients and insurance providers.

As we’ve said before – it’s important to treat obesity definitively before patients develop serious and potentially life threatening complications such as diabetes and hypertension, and the sequelae related to this (coronary artery disease, ischemic limbs, stroke, renal failure).

In order to treat this effectively and aggressively, we shouldn’t wait until the problem is out of control.  A patient shouldn’t have to be 600 pounds for the doctors to consider bariatric surgery – we should help people before that.

I’ve re-posted the article below. [italics are mine.]

Gastric Bypass Has Advantages in Less Obese Patients

June 16, 2011 — There are benefits to performing laparoscopic Roux en Y gastric bypass (RYGB) in obese patients who have a body mass index (BMI) below 35 kg/m2, according to a study reported at the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery 28th Annual Meeting in Orlando, Florida.

Among patients who underwent the surgery, the rates of remission of type 2 diabetes were higher in those with a BMI below 35 kg/m2 than in those with higher BMIs. The “less obese” patients also lost a greater percentage of their excess weight in the first year after surgery than their peers with higher BMIs.

“The study raises the question of whether early referral leads to better outcomes,” John Morton, MD, director of bariatric surgery at Stanford Hospital & Clinics at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, and an investigator with the study, noted in a conference statement.

“Bariatric surgery is tremendous for weight loss, but its other big advantage is improving medical problems, in particular type 2 diabetes,” Dr. Morton noted in an interview with Medscape Medical News.

Outcomes Better at Lower BMI

Current guidelines from the National Institutes of Health recommend that gastric bypass be reserved for patients who have a BMI of 35 kg/m2 or higher and an obesity-related condition, or who have a BMI of at least 40 kg/m2.

Dr. Morton’s team took a look back at 980 patients who underwent laparoscopic RYGB at their institution between 2004 and 2010. “We ask patients to lose some weight before surgery because it’s a good way to make sure they are committed to the program, and it makes the surgery a little bit safer,” Dr. Morton said. “Therefore, we had some patients below a BMI of 35 kg/m2 at the time of surgery.”

For the analysis, the patients were grouped according to their presurgery BMI: below 35 kg/m2, 35 to 39.9 kg/m2, 40 to 49.9 kg/m2, and above 50 kg/m2.

“When we examined type 2 diabetes resolution rates, we found that those with the lowest BMI had the best resolution rates,” Dr. Morton reported. All 12 patients with a BMI below 35 kg/m2 no longer had type 2 diabetes after surgery, whereas patients with higher BMIs had remission rates of roughly 75%.

We are looking to entertain the idea that maybe obese patients should have the option of surgical intervention for their diabetes sooner rather than later because, as the study showed, as the BMI gradient goes up, your diabetes resolution rate with surgery goes down,” Dr. Morton said.

The researchers also found that patients with a BMI below 35 kg/m2 who had the surgery had lost more of their excess weight at 3, 6, and 12 months than patients with a higher BMI.

After 1 year, the patients with BMIs below 35 kg/m2 had lost 167% of their excess weight. By comparison, those with a BMI from 35 to 39.9 kg/m2 had lost 112%, those with a BMI from 40 to 49.9 kg/m2 had lost 85%, and those with a BMI above 50 kg/m2 had lost 67% of their excess weight.

Laparoscopic RYGB also took less time in patients with the lowest BMI (170 minutes) than in those with higher BMIs (177 minutes, 182 minutes, and 194 minutes, respectively).

Reevaluation of BMI Guideline Needed

In an interview with Medscape Medical News, John David Scott, MD, a bariatric surgeon at Greenville Hospital System University Medical Center in South Carolina, who was not involved in the study, said that “the BMI level of 35 is an arbitrary standard set many years ago that certainly needs to be reevaluated.”

“Most of the evidence that has been coming out lately has shown not only a positive weight loss benefit for that particular group, but also positive overall health effects,” he added. “In particular, the resolution of diabetes is astounding. To be able to offer patients a surgical cure for their type 2 diabetes is very exciting,” Dr. Scott said.

Dr. Morgan has disclosed no relevant financial relationships. Dr. Scott reports receiving speaker fees from WL Gore & Associates and fellowship support from Ethicon Endo Surgery.

American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) 28th Annual Meeting: Abstract P-54. Presented June 16, 2011.

In other news, from the same conference (Megan Brooks reporting) – patients undergoing successful bariatric surgery (with resultant weight loss) had decreased rates of heart attacks and stroke.
“Bariatric Surgery good for the Heart”

June 16, 2011 — Bariatric surgery and the significant weight loss it achieves can  significantly reduce the incidence of myocardial infarction (MI), stroke, and premature death, according to a study presented at the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) 28th Annual Meeting in Orlando, Florida.

“In addition to weight loss, bariatric surgery offers patients a whole host of health benefits, including a reduction in the risk of major cardiovascular problems,” study presenter John David Scott, MD, a bariatric surgeon at Greenville Hospital System University Medical Center in South Carolina, noted in an interview with Medscape Medical News.

“There is a long line of studies showing that bariatric surgery affects cardiovascular outcomes,” Dr. Scott noted. “The difference between our study and other studies is that we looked at major cardiovascular events (heart attack and stroke), whereas a lot of other studies have looked at risk for these events.”

The researchers reviewed data on 9140 morbidly obese individuals, 40 to 79 years of age, who had undergone bariatric surgery (n = 4747), gastrointestinal (GI) surgery (n = 3066), or orthopedic surgery (n = 1327) in South Carolina between 1996 and 2008.

The GI group (hernia or gallbladder) and the orthopedic group (joint replacement) served as control groups because of their similar health and risk profiles, the authors note.

All patients had similar a health status before surgery and no history of MI or stroke. The patients were followed to the end points of first MI, stroke, transient ischemic attack, or death.

“Life-table analysis demonstrated significantly improved event-free survival in the bariatric patients within 6 months of surgery, and it was sustained over time,” the authors note in the meeting abstract.

Five years after surgery, an estimated 85% of bariatric surgery patients were free of MI and stroke, compared with 73% of orthopedic patients and 66% of GI patients, the researchers say.

At 10 years, event-free survival was 77% in the bariatric group, 64% in the orthopedic group, and 62% in the GI group (P < .05).

After adjustment for differences in age and relevant comorbidities, bariatric surgery was an independent predictor of event-free survival. Compared with orthopedic surgery, the hazard ratio (HR) was 0.57 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.47 to 0.69); compared with GI surgery, the HR was 0.35 (95% CI, 0.29 to 0.43).

“Important Area of Emerging Study”

In a statement from the ASMBS, Anita Courcoulas, MD, MPH, director of minimally invasive bariatric and general surgery at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pennsylvania, who was not involved in the study, said: “The impact of bariatric surgery on both cardiovascular risk factors and events is an important area of emerging study.”

The findings, she said, are “suggestive of an association between undergoing bariatric surgery and improved event-free survival. This relationship needs to be further explored with prospective clinical data, but still highlights the importance of understanding the broader impact of bariatric surgery on long-term outcomes.”

In an interview with Medscape Medical News, John Morton, MD, director of bariatric surgery at Stanford Hospitals & Clinics at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, who was also not involved in the study, made the point that “obesity affects every single body part and if you are able to affect the weight, you’re going to help other medical problems — particularly the ones that are inflammatory-mediated.”

“Obesity is really an inflammatory-mediated disease, and stroke, cardiac risk, and even diabetes are now being recognized as inflammatory-related. With weight-loss surgery, direct markers of inflammation go down and, more importantly, these diseases get better,” Dr. Morton explained.

Studies have shown that morbidly obese patients can lose 30% to 50% of their excess weight in the first 6 months after surgery, and 77% as early as 1 year after surgery.

American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) 28th Annual Meeting. Abstract PL-105. Presented June 15, 2011.

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