Obese people who undergo bariatric (weight loss) surgery halve their risk of suffering a heart attack, new research suggests.
Bariatric surgery is a procedure carried out on people who are obese. An example of this is the insertion of a gastric band, which reduces the size of the stomach.
UK scientists set out to assess the impact of bariatric surgery on rates of heart disease and death. They carried out a detailed analysis of 14 studies, involving over 29,000 patients who had undergone this type of surgery.
The average age of the participants was 48 and the studies were carried out in Europe, North America and Australia.
The research showed that death rates among obese people who had undergone weight loss surgery fell by 40%, while the risk of suffering a heart attack was halved, compared to those who did not have surgery.
Commenting on the findings, the study’s lead author, Dr Yoon Loke, of the University of East Anglia, pointed out that obesity ‘is a worldwide problem with significant consequences on individuals and society’.
“It is associated with heart disease, type 2 diabetes, many cancers and a shorter life expectancy…We saw that surgery was potentially life-saving and could lower the risk of having a heart attack and stroke by almost 50%,” he said.
The scientists believe that these findings suggest that weight loss surgery ‘should be considered in obese patients who have a high risk of heart disease’.
Details of these findings are published in the International Journal of Cardiology.