Surgery to Lose Weight Reduces the Risk of Heart Attack in Extremely Obese People

According to a recent study, bariatric surgery may considerably reduce the risk of heart attacks, strokes, and angina in extremely obese persons. The nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), which is frequently associated with obesity, also impacted the study subjects.

Researchers from Rutgers University-New Brunswick and Ohio State University discovered that patients with a body mass index (BMI) greater than 40 with NAFLD were 50% more likely to experience heart attacks, strokes, and angina.

But according to study author Dr. Vinod Rustgi, director of the Center for Liver Diseases and Liver Masses at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Jersey, the new findings “provide evidence in support of bariatric surgery as an effective therapeutic tool to lower elevated risk of cardiovascular disease for select individuals with obesity and NAFLD.” These findings have a huge impact for a variety of reasons.

A medical insurance database for the years 2007 to 2017 was used by Rustgi and his coworkers.

They discovered over 87,000 persons, 64% of whom were women, with obesity and NAFLD, ranging in age from 18 to 64. While 65% of these patients underwent nonsurgical treatment, about 35% underwent bariatric surgery.

The chance of having a heart attack, heart failure, or an ischemic stroke was reduced by 49% in patients who underwent bariatric surgery (those caused by a blockage). Researchers discovered that these people had much lower risk factors for arterial blood clots, artery plaque formation, and angina.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there will be about 697,000 heart-related deaths in the country in 2020. The main cause of death for both men and women is heart disease.

In a previous study, Rustgi and colleagues discovered that bariatric surgery could considerably lower the risk of cancer in obese people with NAFLD, particularly malignancies linked to obesity.

Rustgi stated in a Rutgers news release that although bariatric surgery is a more drastic measure than lifestyle changes, it may also have additional advantages including bettering quality of life and reducing the financial load on long-term healthcare.

The research results were just released in the journal JAMA Network Open.

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More information on weight-loss surgery is available from the US National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

SOURCE: News release from Rutgers University-New Brunswick, November 14, 2022

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