Use of bariatric surgery in patients with kidney failure, most notably laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy, increased nine-fold within a decade while also showing a low risk for complications, reveals a new study. The findings of the study are published in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.
The findings suggest that kidney failure should not be considered a contraindication for weight loss surgery.
As in the general population, obesity rates are rising in individuals with kidney failure. By analyzing all Medicare claims for the years 2006 through 2016, a team led by Seth Waits, MD and Kyle Sheetz, MD, MSc (University of Michigan) assessed the extent to which these patients are undergoing and benefiting from weight loss surgery.
Complication rates for sleeve gastrectomy were similar between patients with and without kidney failure (3.4% vs. 3.6%); however, patients with kidney failure had more hospital readmissions (8.6% vs. 5.4%) and slightly longer hospitals stays (2.2 vs. 1.9 days). "This study shows that contemporary trends shifted towards laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy for patients with kidney failure, likely due to the lower risk of complications and shorter hospital stays," said Dr. Sheetz.
"Weight-loss surgery is now common and generally safe in these patients. The findings from this study suggest that the medical community should focus on determining how best to use weight loss surgery as one tool in the long-term management of patients with kidney failure. It also highlights the potential for greater collaboration between primary care doctors, nephrologists, and surgeons."
In an accompanying editorial, Kevin Erickson, MD, MS and Sankar Navaneethan, MD (Baylor College of Medicine) noted that although the study found relatively low rates of post-surgical complications, questions remain about the safety and longer-term impact of weight loss surgery on patients' health and their access to kidney transplantation.
"Clinical trials comparing the benefits and risks of these procedures in the dialysis population would be ideal," they wrote.