Mortality Rates in Morbidly Obese Skyrocket Without Bariatric Surgery

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A recent study published in Elsevier, a medical journal covering surgery for obesity and related diseases, found mortality rates in morbidly obese people who defer bariatric surgical intervention was more than 10 times the expected rate.

A recent study published in Elsevier, a medical journal covering surgery for obesity and related diseases, found mortality rates in morbidly obese people who defer bariatric surgical intervention was more than 10 times the expected rate.

Mortality from bariatric surgery for the morbidly obese has been widely reported, but little was known about mortality rates in morbidly obese patients who deferred the different available surgical weight-loss options: roux-en-y gastric bypass, vertical gastrectomy, LapBand® and duodenal switch.

Selected from a master bariatric surgery database of 1,438 patients between 1997 and 2004, the study identified 207 patients who, while meeting National Institutes of Health (NIH) guidelines for surgical intervention, never returned to their medical practitioners for a bariatric surgical procedure.

The results revealed that of the 207 morbidly obese patients screened for the study, 16 (nearly 8%) died within the study period, with 54 years being the average age of death. Given the age distribution of this population, the study expected the number of deaths to be less than one. The study concluded that, for morbidly obese patients who defer surgical weight-loss intervention, the mortality rate is more than 10 times the expected rate.

The study strongly indicates the increasing mortality risk and subsequent danger for morbidly obese people who defer or even postpone surgical weight-loss procedures. In reacting to the results of the study, Dr. Paul Cirangle of Laparoscopic Associates of San Francisco was startled by the results, adding, “this is a wake-up call for thousands of morbidly obese people in the United States who may be considering weight-loss surgery as an option but not a priority. This study indicates that the consequences for ignoring the problem or deferring it on account of the perceived risk of surgical intervention, can be fatal in itself.”

The study was led by Drs. Oluseun A. Sowemimo, Rebecca Ross, Ursula McMillian, Peter Ojo and Randolph B. Reinhold, with help from John Courtney, MPH, and Jessie Moore, APRN, from the Hospital of Saint Raphael in New Haven, Connecticut.

About Laparoscopic Associates of San Francisco (http://www.lapsf.com)

Based in the San Francisco Bay Area, Laparoscopic Associates performs all weight-loss surgeries laparoscopically, including LapBand®, Roux en Y gastric bypass, duodenal switch and vertical gastrectomy. They also feature a total care support system including Obesity Surgery Seminars, a Patient Support Group, a Chat Room, and a complete resource directory for your obesity help.

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Michelle Nicholl
LAPSF
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