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Stanford Gastric Bypass Surgery Study and Heart Disease Risk

July 1st 2005

Gastric Bypass Surgery

Researchers at the Stanford University of Medicine (lead author Brandon Williams, MD) measured cardiovascular risk factors in 371 patients before gastric bypass surgery, and then again 12 months after.  The researchers added three new tests to the standard panel of cholesterol and triglycerides.  The researchers also looked at the C-reactive protein, lipoprotein A and homocysteine levels. "All of the values improved to where they were no longer in the abnormal range. In other words, they normalized," Morton said.

The researchers saw improvements in all cardiac risk factors.  Triglycerides and C-reactive protein levels were drastically improved. In fact there were improvements in the lipoprotein A and homocycsteine levels also.  The gastric bypass surgery reduced the risk of heart disease substantially.

"Medication with statins - the most effective non-surgical treatment available - lowers C-reactive protein by about 16 percent. But we found that gastric bypass lowered it by 50 percent. That's a pretty significant improvement over what's been considered state-of-the-art therapy," said senior author John Morton, MD, assistant professor of surgery at the Stanford School of Medicine and director of bariatric surgery at Stanford Hospital.


The surgery should be reserved for the morbidly obese, about 15 percent of the population.  The number of gastric bypass surgeries has increased from 29,000 in 1999 to 141,000 in 2004. The procedure poses a 2% mortality rate.  The CDC offers a calculation to determine if you are morbidly obese at http://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/dnpa/bmi/calc-bmi.htm.  If your BMI (Body Mass Index) is over 40 you are morbidly obese.

A BMI of 25 is considered normal; 25-30 is considered overweight, 31-39 is considered obese and 40 and above is considered morbidly obese.  Two years after the surgery many of the participants were still considered obese.  On average the participants lost 36% of their body weight and 50% of their body fat.   

Before the surgery, 83% of the participants had borderline or high blood pressure.  After two years 96% had normal blood pressure. 23% of the participants were diagnosed with diabetes before the procedure.  Of those, 88% regained normal blood sugar levels after 2 years. Insulin sensitivity increased by about 150%.     

The new findings may push insurance companies to cover the procedure. The improvement went beyond what was expected due to the weight loss alone.  "We're not sure why, but the process of bypassing the stomach might induce some changes in both lipid and inflammatory metabolism," Morton said.  Other studies have found that gastric bypass surgery has reduced blood pressure.  The study indicated that a major risk factor for heart disease dropped to only 19% (from 100%) in the men and from 97% to 9% in the women.

Complete Study:  http://mednews.stanford.edu/releases/2005/june/gastric-bypass.htm

By Dan Wilson
Best Syndication Staff Writer


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Copyright 2005 Best Syndication                                            Last Updated Sunday, July 11, 2010 01:18 AM