Bariatric Surgery Cuts Heart Attack Risk for Years

June 22, 2012

Bariatric surgery is known to reduce heart attack risk short-term. 

Now, a new study presented in San Diego at the annual meeting of the American Society for Metabolic & Bariatric Surgery suggests that benefit is maintained long-term. It followed some patients as long as seven years.

Researchers looked at numerous heart (cardiac) risk factors before and after gastric bypass surgery and found all improved.

“The obese patient has substantially more cardiac risk factors, and that risk is improved after bariatric surgery across the board, regardless of individual cardiac risk factors,” says researcher John Morton, MD, MPH, director of bariatric surgery at Stanford Hospitals & Clinics at Stanford University.

“This study shows that bariatric surgery’s impact on cardiac risk factors is not only effective treatment but enduring,” Morton says.

Bariatric Surgery & Heart Attack Risk: Study Details

All patients had gastric bypass, in which a stomach pouch is created out of a small portion of the stomach and attached to the small intestine. A large part of the stomach and some of the small intestine are bypassed.

In the study, 182 patients were followed for at least three years. By year seven, 57 patients remained for follow-up evaluation. Others dropped out.

‘This is the largest long-term follow-up of cardiac risk factors after gastric bypass surgery,” Morton tells WebMD.

The average age was 44 years. Before surgery, the patients’ average BMI was 47 (a BMI of 30 or higher is considered obese). At the start, 33% had diabetes, half had high blood pressure, and nearly one-fourth were on statin therapy to reduce cholesterol.

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