A study led by Dr. Henry Buchwald of the University of Minnesota Department of Surgery has shown that bariatric surgery is very effective in putting obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) into remission. The severely obese often have comorbidities, such as diabetes and cardiovascular health risks, associated with their high body mass indexes (BMIs) and obstructive sleep apnea is often one of them. This study indicates that weight loss surgery also has the added benefit of resolving OSA.
The study consisted of a meta-analysis of 136 existing studies published between 1990 and 2003. The existing studies contained 22,094 total bariatric surgery patients, but the data sample for the OSA study was much smaller. The OSA study divided individuals into two groups: the first group had a total of 1,195 patients from studies that used a “resolved” outcome for OSA and the second group had a total of 726 patients from studies that provided for the broader outcome of “resolved or improved.” The overall study population was 72.6% women and 19.4% men (8% unknown gender) with a mean age of 39 years. For patients with body mass index data (16,944), the mean BMI was 46.9.
The results of the sleep apnea study are impressive. For the first group, 87.9% of patients achieved a resolved outcome for their OSA. The second group also had good results with 80.6% of its patients having a resolved or improved outcome. Determination of the presence of OSA was made if the patient had received a diagnosis of sleep-disordered breathing, sleep apnea or pickwickian syndrome. Further data was also available for 92 patients that showed that a decrease in apneas or hypopneas per hour fell by 33.85.
Gastric bypass was the most common bariatric surgery in the OSA study, with 896 patients in the first data group and 176 in the second, but gastric banding, biliopancreatic diversion (with and without duodenal switch) and gastroplasty were also represented. All the weight loss surgeries had comparably good results for OSA remission or improvement, highlighting that it is the weight loss from the surgery and not the procedure itself that leads to resolving sleep apnea.
Source: The Journal of the American Medical Association