Features February 2014 Issue

Gastric Bypass Surgery May Help Lower Heart Attack, Stroke Risks

The weight-loss procedure has been shown to combat diabetes effectively, but new research also shows long-term benefits in reducing other risks.

The benefits of gastric bypass surgery in reducing symptoms of type 2 diabetes are well known. But a recent Cleveland Clinic study shows that patients with obesity and diabetes who undergo the weight-loss surgery also may significantly lower their risks of a heart attack and stroke.

The study, presented at the annual meeting of the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery, was presented by co-author Stacy Brethauer, MD, staff physician in the Section of Laparoscopic and Bariatric Surgery at Cleveland Clinic.

“This study emphasizes that gastric bypass dramatically changes the trajectory of many chronic diseases associated with diabetes, and improves multiple cardiovascular risk factors in the long term,” he says.

Gastric bypass surgery involes the stapling of the stomach to create a smaller upper pouch and a lower, larger section. Food goes into the smaller pouch, but because it holds only about an ounce at a time, you eat much less than you would without the surgery. A section of small intestine is also attached to the pouch, creating a bypass. The result is that less food is consumed and fewer calories are absorbed by the body.

Study Details
In the Cleveland Clinic study, researchers found that gastric bypass patients experienced a 40-percent reduction in heart attack risk and a 42-percent reduction in their stroke risk over a 10-year time frame. The study involved 131 patients, all of whom were obese and had diabetes prior to surgery.

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