A study of over 850 weight loss surgery patients, 98.5 percent of whom were gastric bypass patients, found that in those of BMI 50 and higher (which is the average size for bariatric surgery patients), 2 percent died within 30 days, another 3.6 percent died within 90 days of surgery and another 5 percent died within a year of surgery.
These patients were operated on in 1 of 12 veteran's hospitals. The mean age was 54 and 70 percent of the cohort were men.
The death rate was higher in those with a BMI of 50 and comorbidities like heart disease, sleep apnea etc.
Researchers Lie et al concluded:
"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 (BMI eq or greater than 50)."
Now of course, we know that all providers of gastric bypass will be sure to show their prospective patients this study and discuss not having a gastric bypass if they are over 50 and BMI 50 or higher and/or have heart disease, complex diabetes etc, right?
SOURCE: Arch Surg. 2009;144:914-920