Bariatric Surgery Reduces Cardiovascular Health Risks

Study Shows Fewer Cardiovascular Health Events

posted by Bariatric Skinny Editorial Team
filed under Bariatric Surgery postings

In a study conducted as part of the Swedish Obese Subjects (SOS) research program, bariatric surgery was shown to reduce cardiovascular deaths and cardiovascular health events, such as heart attack (acute myocardial infarction) and stroke, in obese patients more than usual care alone.

The study consisted of two groups of patients: one group of 2,010 obese patients who had bariatric surgery and a second (control) group of 2,037 obese patients who received the normal, non-surgical care.  The participants ranged in age from 37 to 60 and had a BMI (body mass index) of at least 38 for women and 34 for men.  The breakdown of the types of bariatric surgeries used was: 13.2% gastric bypass, 18.7% gastric banding and 68.1% vertical banded gastroplasty.  The control group received the standard care provided to obese patients in the Swedish primary health system.  December 31, 2009 was the date of analysis for the study and the patient follow-up date had a median of 14.7 years at that point.

The study’s results showed encouraging cardiovascular benefits associated with bariatric surgery.  Of the 2,010 patients that underwent a bariatric procedure, 28 had a cardiovascular-related death, compared to the 49 out of 2,037 control group participants that suffered a cardiovascular death.  Similarly, the number of participants that had their first heart attack (acute myocardial infarction) or stroke was lower in the surgery group: 199 surgery patients versus 234 control group patients.

Interestingly, in analyzing the study’s results the researchers saw no significant relationship between weight loss and lower risk of cardiovascular health events.  There was no evidence that a lower BMI, smaller body measurements or other metabolic variables affected the likelihood of having a heart attack or stroke.  However, importantly, the analysis did reveal a connection between higher baseline levels of insulin and reduced cardiovascular event risk in bariatric surgery patients.  Other studies have shown that bariatric procedures can reduce or eliminate diabetes, and raise baseline insulin levels in patients, so it may be this beneficial diabetic effect leading to the cardiovascular risk reduction.

The study was run by the SOS secretariat at the University of Gothenburg, Institute of Medicine, in Sweden.  The study was conducted at 480 health care centers and 25 surgical facilities in Sweden.

Source:  The Journal of the American Medical Association

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