-- Robert Preidt
MONDAY, March 14 (HealthDay News) -- The benefits of bariatric
(weight loss) surgery may outweigh the risks for some severely
obese people, according to a new scientific statement from the
American Heart Association.
By restricting food intake and/or preventing full absorption of
food as it passes through the gastro-intestinal tract, bariatric
surgery is meant to reduce a person's caloric intake.
The statement-writing committee reviewed available scientific
literature and concluded that bariatric surgery can result in
long-term weight loss and significant reductions in cardiac and
other risk factors for certain people who are severely obese, which
is defined as having a body mass index of 40 or more.
"The statement is not an across-the-board endorsement of bariatric surgery for the severely obese," statement lead author Dr. Paul Poirier, director of the prevention/rehabilitation program at the Quebec Heart and Lung Institute, Laval University Hospital, cautioned in an American Heart Association news release. "Bariatric procedures are generally safe; however, this is not a benign surgery. At the moment, bariatric surgery should be reserved for patients who can undergo surgery safely, have severe obesity and have failed attempts at medical therapy."
Specifically, bariatric surgery can lead to improvements in
weight-related health problems such as diabetes, high cholesterol,
liver disease, high blood pressure, obstructive sleep apnea and
cardiovascular dysfunction, the authors say.
The statement authors also noted that some recent studies have
suggested that bariatric surgery helps prolong the lives of
severely obese people.
However, like all surgeries, bariatric surgery does carry
surgical risks -- including infection, internal bleeding, blood
clots and death, according to the American Society for Metabolic
and Bariatric Surgery. It also has long-term implications for
patients' lifestyle. For example, patients have to make lifelong
behavior changes, such as eating less and taking vitamin and
mineral supplements, and follow up with the surgical team.
The statement appears March 14 in the journal
The U.S. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive Diseases
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