Bariatric surgery cuts long-term mortality risk in middle-aged patients

Obese patients who undergo bariatric surgery have a 53% lower risk of dying from any cause at five to 14 years after the procedure, researchers have found.

Bariatric surgery: cuts long-term health risk (Photo: Science Photo Library)
Bariatric surgery: cuts long-term health risk (Photo: Science Photo Library)

A University of Washington study, published in JAMA, followed 2,500 middle-aged obese patients who had undergone bariatric surgery and compared them to 7,400 control patients to understand the impact weight-loss surgery had on long-term survival.

Within the surgery group, 74% had had a gastric bypass procedure, 15% a sleeve gastrectomy, 10% adjustable gastric banding and 1% had other procedures.

Participants were mostly sampled from US veteran centres, meaning patients were predominantly older men in their fifties, a group often underrepresented in previous trials which have focused on younger female patients, the researchers said.

At the end of the 14-year study period, they that found participants who had undergone surgery were less likely to die from all causes at five years and 10 years after having the procedure compared to control patients.

Lower mortality rate

After five years, patients in the surgery group had a 6.4% mortality rate compared to 10.4% in the control group. After 10 years, the mortality rate for surgery patients was 13.8% compared to 23.9%.

Across a five- to 14-year period, the patients who had undergone surgery were 53% less likely to die from all causes.

Having a lower BMI is associated with a longer life span, but the results show that intentional, surgical weight loss can also help drive down mortality and improve long-term survival rates, the researchers said.

Lead author Dr David Arterburn said: ‘We have tracked a large group of patients for a long enough time that we can clearly see a strong link between bariatric surgery and long-term survival.’

Beneficial for older patients

The findings show that bariatric surgery has clear benefits even in older patients, who are more likely to have acquired obesity-related complications and co-morbidities, he added.

‘Our results may have broader implications for encouraging weight loss in general,' he said. 'Not much evidence has linked intentional weight loss (from surgery, medication, or diet and exercise) with longer survival. But our results, combined with other studies of bariatric surgery, may help to make that case.’

In further study, the team hope to explore how weight-loss surgery can affect the course of diseases associated with obesity, such as diabetes, and whether health care costs could ultimately be reduced in the long run as a result of surgery.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register

Already registered?

Sign in

Follow Us:

Just published

'How I survived a bewildering ten-month investigation by the GMC'

'How I survived a bewildering ten-month investigation by the GMC'

How does the experience of a GMC investigation impact on the lives of doctors? One...

90% of patients would recommend their GP practice to friends or family

90% of patients would recommend their GP practice to friends or family

Nine in 10 people would recommend their GP practice to a friend or family member,...

NHS documentary spells out threat to future of the health service

NHS documentary spells out threat to future of the health service

A documentary film appearing in cinemas across the UK next month tells how the NHS...

GP funding rose much faster in rest of UK than England in 2018/19

GP funding rose much faster in rest of UK than England in 2018/19

Total NHS investment in general practice in England rose just 1.36% in real terms...

GP funding per patient rose less than 1% in 2018/19

GP funding per patient rose less than 1% in 2018/19

GP funding per patient in England rose to £154.81 in 2018/19 - up just 0.7% from...

Temporary cap extended on GP at Hand registrations in Birmingham

Temporary cap extended on GP at Hand registrations in Birmingham

A temporary cap on patients in Birmingham registering with Babylon GP at Hand has...