October 20, 2008 / 2:21 PM / 10 years ago

Gastric bypass cuts heart risks

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - The risk faced by obese people of having a heart attack or other cardiovascular “events” is reduced substantially after they undergo gastric bypass surgery to lose weight, according to a recent study.

The take-home message is that “bariatric surgery can be considered as a means to reduce cardiovascular risk (in obese patients) after conservative treatment options have failed,” Dr. John A. Batsis told Reuters Health.

Batsis, at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, New Hampshire and his colleagues identified six studies that looked at cardiovascular risk after bariatric surgery for obesity. The risk was estimated from standard tables that assigned a score for factors such as weight, blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

Depending on how the patients’ risk was assessed, the researchers found that gastric bypass reduced the risk for a future cardiovascular event anywhere from 8 percent to 79 percent, compared to not having the procedure, the team reports in the American Journal of Cardiology.

Looked at another way, the predicted chance of having a heart attack or needing heart surgery or dying of heart disease over 10 years fell from 7.0 percent to 3.5 percent after undergoing bariatric surgery. For people who did not have surgery, the probability fell from 7.1 percent to 6.5 percent.

These figures were estimates. As Batsis noted, “Further studies are required to better understand the long-term impact of bariatric surgery on predicted cardiovascular risk in obese patients by determining the actual number of cardiac events.”

SOURCE: American Journal of Cardiology, October 1, 2008.

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