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Bariatric Surgery Viable Option for Severely Obese

Statement suggests surgery leads to long-term weight loss and reduced cardiac risk factors

TUESDAY, March 15 (HealthDay News) -- Bariatric surgery is a viable option that often leads to long-term weight loss and reductions in cardiac and other risk factors in severely obese patients who have failed other weight-loss therapies, according to an American Heart Association (AHA) scientific statement published online March 14 in Circulation.

Paul Poirier, M.D., Ph.D., of the Laval University Hospital in Canada, and colleagues collaborated on a consensus statement based on recent scientific studies, focusing on bariatric surgery and its impact on cardiac risk factors. The AHA committee reviewed indications for bariatric surgery, the different surgical options, related complications and outcome benefits, improvement in cardiovascular risk factors, and postoperative management. Projections suggest that in the near future, there will be at least 31 million severely obese American adults, defined as having a body mass index of more than 40 kg/m², who may qualify for bariatric surgery.

The committee found that, when indicated, bariatric surgery leads to significant weight loss and improvements in obesity-related health consequences, including diabetes, high cholesterol, liver disease, systemic hypertension, sleep apnea, and cardiovascular dysfunction. According to recent studies, bariatric surgery provides a significant survival benefit in obese patients. Though there are attendant risks, including death, bariatric surgery is considered relatively safe, particularly in centers that perform many such procedures. Bariatric surgery also necessitates surgical follow-up, long-term lifestyle changes, and psychological evaluations.

"Medical experience acquired up to now supports the efficiency and safety of surgery for weight loss in severely obese patients on the basis of metabolic profile, cardiac structure and function, and related disorders," the authors write.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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