A new American study suggests that the 'superobese' veterans and those with more chronic disease burden may die within a year of undergoing bariatric surgery.
The study conducted by David Arterburn, M.D., M.P.H., of Group Health Research Institute, Seattle, and his team has been published in the October issue of Archives of Surgery, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.
Speaking about the veterans who use Veterans Affairs (VA) medical facilities the researchers write: "Whether the volume of the VA bariatric surgery program should be expanded in the coming years largely depends on the impact such operations have on long-term health outcomes."
The team examined 856 veterans who had had bariatric surgery in any of 12 VA bariatric centres from 2000 to 2006 to come up with their findings. These patients had an average body mass index (BMI) of 48.7 and their age averaged 54 years. Over 70 percent of the participants were men.
The scientists found that 54 patients making up 6.3 percent of the total died during the follow-up period; 1.3 percent patients died a month after surgery, 2.1 percent died about three months after surgery and 3.4 percent died after one year.
The authors say that "the results of this study should inform discussions with patients with regard to the potential risks and benefits of bariatric surgery."
"These findings also suggest that the risks of bariatric surgery in patients with significant comorbidities, such as congestive heart failure, complicated diabetes and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, should be carefully weighed against potential benefits in older male patients and those with superobesity," they added.