Surgery May Cut Diabetic Heart Risk

Obese type 2 diabetes patients had a lower risk of heart attack after bariatric surgery

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Robert Carlson, M.D

(RxWiki News) Weight loss surgery has been shown to be an excellent treatment for obese people with diabetes. Since diabetes can raise the risk of heart disease, it is important to know the heart risks of weight loss surgery.

Weight loss surgery (also known as bariatric surgery) reduced the risk of heart attack among obese people with type 2 diabetes.

Patients who started the study with higher levels of cholesterol and blood fats benefited most from weight loss surgery.

"Ask your doctor if weight loss surgery is right for you."

Both obesity and type 2 diabetes increase the risk of heart disease. However, researchers are still unclear about how weight loss surgery may affect the risk of heart-related events in obese diabetes patients, according to Stefano Romeo, MD, PhD, of the University of Gothenburg in Sweden, and colleagues.

Through their study of 607 obese people with type 2 diabetes, Dr. Romeo and colleagues found that weight loss surgery was associated with a reduced risk of heart attack. While there were 38 heart attacks among the 345 people who underwent surgery, there were 43 heart attacks among the 262 people who did not go through surgery (a hazard ratio of 0.56).

Weight loss surgery appeared to have little impact on stroke risk, however. There were 34 strokes in the surgery group, compared to 24 strokes in the non-surgery group (a hazard ratio of 0.73).

Surgery lowered the risk of heart attack most in participants with higher levels of cholesterol and triglycerides (blood fats) at the beginning of the study.

Body mass index, or BMI (a measure of body fat using height and weight), was not related to the outcome of surgery.

The authors concluded that weight loss surgery may reduce the risk of heart attack in obese people with type 2 diabetes.

In the study, a total of 345 patients underwent surgery while the remaining 262 did not. Patients were followed for a mean of 13.3 years.

The research was published August 1 in Diabetes Care, a journal of the American Diabetes Association.

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Review Date: 
August 1, 2012
Last Updated:
August 5, 2012