New studies continue to show better results for patients with type 2 diabetes undergoing medical therapy with bariatric surgery than patients undergoing medical therapy without bariatric surgery.
According to a recent article published in The Journal of the American Medical Association, research teams from the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston found that at one year type 2 diabetes patients undergoing bariatric surgery with medical therapy were more likely to achieve glycemic control than those in medical therapy who had not had surgery. In many cases, the bariatric surgery patients were able to reduce, or even eliminate, the amount of drugs they had been taking for their diabetes.
Researchers examined three groups of type 2 diabetic patients: those receiving only optimal medical therapy, those receiving medical therapy with Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery, and those receiving medical therapy with sleeve gastrectomy. The study had 66% women, an overall average patient age of 49 years old, and an average patient BMI (body mass index) of approximately 37. The study was lead by Dr. Philip Schauer of the Cleveland Clinic.
At the beginning of the study, patients had an average glycated hemoglobin (also referred to as “A1C”) level of 9.2%. The goal for patients in the study was to reduce A1C to 6.0% or lower, and the results were telling. At the one year point, 42% of gastric bypass patients, 37% of sleeve gastrectomy patients and just 12% of the medical therapy only group had achieved an A1C of 6.0% or less.
Additionally, patients in all three groups lost weight. But again, the bariatric surgery patients outperformed. The gastric bypass patients lost an average of about 64 lbs (29 kg), the sleeve gastrectomy patients lost an average of about 55 lbs (25 kg), and the patients receiving only medical therapy lost an average of 11.9 lbs (5.4 kg).
The research team plans to follow up with the patients for 5 years to see if glycemic control continues and to determine whether bariatric surgery shows long term improvements for other conditions, such as risk of blindness, renal failure and stroke. Dr. Schauer also wants to extend his research to learn what specifics forces are driving the rapid reduction of A1C in bariatric surgery patients because subsequent weight loss alone does not fully account for it.
Source: The Journal of the American Medical Association