LAP-BAND Surgery a Potential Solution for Obese Patients at Risk for Heart Disease

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Obesity drastically reduces the effectiveness of proper diagnosis and treatment of heart disease. LAP-BAND VIP surgeon Dr. Shahram Salimitari said weight loss surgery is one way morbidly obese patients can effectively lose weight after exhausting traditional weight loss methods. New research has shown that by undergoing LAP-BAND surgery, patients reduce the impact excess weight has on the heart.

Through LAP-BAND surgery, many patients are able to go off medications they take to reduce the risk of heart disease and lead much healthier, happier lives

Obesity-related heart disease has debilitating symptoms which include shortness of breath, chest pain, and high blood pressure. Diagnosis and treatment of heart disease are more difficult for the obese, as excessive fat obscures sound waves of X-ray tests, resulting in inconclusive images. Cardiac catheterization, which is used to aid diagnosis as well as treatment, usually cannot be performed on morbidly obese patients because examination tables only accommodate up to 400 pounds.

Weight loss surgery such as the LAP-BAND may not only be useful in treating obesity, but heart disease and other obesity-related conditions, as well. LAP-BAND VIP surgeon Dr. Shahram Salimitari recommends that obese patients lose weight even when there is no other known risk factor for heart disease, such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, family history, or advanced age.

“Obesity affects all bodily functions apart from the heart and circulatory system, and is also a major cause of gallstones and joint disease,” said Dr. Salimitari. “Through LAP-BAND surgery, many patients are able to go off medications they take to reduce the risk of heart disease and lead much healthier, happier lives.”

Preventive Cardiologist Dr. Sheldon Litwin, unassociated with LAP-BAND VIP, said weight loss surgery spurs weight loss much faster than lifestyle modifications and lessens heart disease risk. Dr. Litwin was co-author of a study published in the September 2012 obesity themed issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association and is part of the multidisciplinary team treating morbidly obese patients at Georgia Health Sciences University.

"I would much rather see everybody out there riding their bikes, walking, running, going to the gym. No question that is better than having surgery," said Litwin. However, surgery may be the only thing that enables many obese individuals to make these healthy lifestyle changes, he said.

People at a healthy weight circulate blood more effectively, while excess fat makes the heart work harder, raising blood pressure. Visceral fat, which surrounds the organs and is mainly visible as “belly fat,” is particularly dangerous. According to the National Institute of Health, visceral fat can contribute to insulin resistance, hypertension, glucose intolerance, and coronary artery disease. Visceral fat differs from subcutaneous fat tissue, which is stored between skin and muscle, contributing to dimpling and cellulite. The placement of this type of fat makes it less dangerous than visceral fat.

Apart from losing weight, patients should eat a healthy diet which is low in sodium. Excessive salt intake can thicken the walls of the heart and narrow the veins, resulting in high blood pressure. This causes a domino effect and a higher risk of heart disease. Fried food, such as burger and fries, are particularly high in sodium, fat, and calories, so the American Heart Association recommends avoiding it as much as possible. Heart-healthy foods which are recommended include fruits, vegetables, lean meats, and complex carbohydrates, such as whole wheat.


Dr. Shahram Salimitari obtained a medical degree from the Chicago Medical School and undertook his General Surgery residency at Mount Sinai Hospital in Chicago. He continued his training with a fellowship in minimally-invasive surgery at the University of South Florida. He specializes in weight loss surgery with a focus in gastric banding procedures.

LAP-BAND VIP has a dedicated surgical and medical staff with extensive training and expertise perfected through years of practice. Our staff provides unparalleled, personalized service for all individuals in their weight loss journey. To learn more about LAP-BAND VIP and to schedule your free consultation, visit or call (800) 561-9000.

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