Weight-Loss Surgery a Boon for the Heart

Weight-Loss Surgery a Boon for the Heart

Though weight-loss surgery can do wonders for your waistline, a new study suggests it might also reverse subtle damage to your heart.

The research included 38 obese patients who had weight-loss surgery and 19 obese patients who were on the waiting list for weight-loss surgery.

At the start of the study, 58% of patients in the surgery group had subclinical heart disease - which means changes to the heart and its function before actual heart disease starts. In 82% of those patients, subclinical heart dysfunction normalized six months after surgery.

But subclinical heart disease worsened in 53% of patients on the waiting list during the same period.
Other measures also spoke to the benefits of weight-loss surgery.

After six months of follow-up, the patients in the surgery group had lost 26% of their total body weight, while those on the waiting list stayed the same weight. Rates of obesity-related health problems in the surgery group were: high blood pressure, 30%; type 2 diabetes, 13%, and dyslipidemia (high cholesterol or triglycerides), 5%.

Meanwhile, rates among patients on the waiting list were 61% for high blood pressure, 40% for type 2 diabetes, and 42% for dyslipidemia.

The findings were to be presented Thursday at the European Society of Cardiology annual meeting, in Vienna, Austria. Such research is considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

"We show that abnormal subclinical heart function in obese patients is common. Early [six months] after bariatric [weight-loss] surgery, it normalizes in more than 80% of patients and is comparable to normal-weight controls," said study author Dr. Marie-Eve Piche, from the Quebec Heart and Lung Institute.

"Obesity-related [problems] also got better," she added in a meeting news release. "Interestingly, remission of type 2 diabetes after bariatric surgery was associated with improvement in subclinical heart function. Conversely, obese individuals with type 2 diabetes who remained on the surgical waiting list showed a worsening in their subclinical [heart] function during follow-up."

Source: European Society of Cardiology, news release, Dec. 5, 2019.

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